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Cricket legend Warne unveils weighty likeness



Liz Hurley, Shane Warne and their children at the Melbourne Cricket Ground


MELBOURNE: Newly-svelte Australian legspin legend Shane Warne joked that a hefty bronze statue of him unveiled at the Melbourne Cricket Ground Thursday was a "lifelike" memento of his time in Test cricket.

"It's 300 kilos that statue, it's pretty lifelike for when I played," said Warne, who drastically slimmed down after he began dating his now-fiancee Liz Hurley.

"It's a great honour, it's a bit weird seeing yourself up there, but I'm very proud."

The statue depicts Warne in his pomp -- with earring, dated hairstyle and paunch -- and he joins 10 other Australian sporting greats including cricketers Don Bradman and Dennis Lillee who have been immortalised outside the MCG.

Warne, 42, reminisced about his best moments at the ground, including his breakthrough 7-52 to beat the West Indies in 1992-93, his hat-trick against England in 1994 and his 700th Test wicket in 2006.

Hurley and Warne's children were on hand to witness him unveiling the statue with the help of Mark Taylor, capatin for much of the spinner's Test career

"I'm glad we sat for there for about four hours measuring between my nose and my ears, so thank you very much," Warne joked with sculptor Louis Laumen.

Rated one of the five best cricketers of the 20th century by cricket bible Wisden, Warne took a pioneering 708 Test wickets in a 145-Test career that made him the scourge of batsmen worldwide.

He bowed out of professional cricket with the Indian Premier League's Rajasthan Royals in May, only to announce his comeback last month with the Melbourne Stars in Australia's Twenty20 Big Bash League.

Known as much for his off-field antics as his prodigious cricket talent, the formerly chubby smoker has always been sensitive about his weight.

Warne recently shed 12 kilogrammes (26lbs) after swapping alcohol and fast food for water and health shakes.

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