Islamabad — Australian captain Pat Cummins, currently leading the team on a tour of Pakistan, said legendary spinner Shane Warne, who died Friday, was "a hero" to the current generation of cricketers.
"So many guys in this team and squad still hold him as a hero," he said in a video message released to media Friday night.
"The loss that we are all trying to wrap our heads around is huge. The game was never the same after Warnie emerged, and the game will never be the same after his passing."
Warne, widely regarded as one of the best Test players of all time, died of a suspected heart attack in Thailand, aged 52.
The news came just hours after the death was announced of fellow Australian great Rod Marsh, one of cricket's outstanding wicketkeepers.
"It has been a really tough day after the passing of Rod. We just wish the best for both families," said Cummins.
The Australians are playing in Pakistan for the first time since 1998, having declined to tour previously because of security issues.
Pakistan were 245 for one at the close of play on the first day of the opening Test in Rawalpindi on Friday.
"Warnie was an all-time great, a once-in-a-century type cricketer, and his records will live on forever," Cummins said.
"We all grew up watching Warnie, idolising him. We all had his posters on the wall."
Cummins said Warne was "loved" by Australia's cricketers, who also admired his showmanship.
"He was their all-time favourite player," he said.
"The way he just willed himself and the team around him to win games for Australia... and above all else, his incredible skill as a leg spinner."