Warne was an illusionist first and leg-spinner second, says Greg Chappell

"When I think of Shane Warne, I think of the words of American naturalist, poet and writer Henry David Thoreau, 'It's not what you look at, it is what you see,'" Greg Chappell said.

FILE PHOTO: Greg Chappell said Shane Warne was just more than a great leg-spinner as he inspired a generation of cricketers to take up his craft.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Former Australia captain Greg Chappell on Monday paid glowing tributes to Shane Warne, describing the spin legend as an illusionist first and then a spinner, who mesmerised the world with his craft and took it to an altogether different level.

Warne died at the age of 52 due to a suspected heart attack at the Koh Samui island in Thailand on Friday, leaving the world stunned and shell-shocked.

"When I think of Shane Warne, I think of the words of American naturalist, poet and writer Henry David Thoreau, 'It's not what you look at, it is what you see.' Shane Warne was an illusionist first and a great leg-spin bowler second," Chappell wrote in his column for Sydney Morning Herald.

Shane Warne's magic and artistry live on

"I was fortunate to get to know Shane well in his post-cricket days by playing numerous games of golf with him at one of his favourite courses, Cathedral Lodge and Golf Club in Thornton, Victoria. You get to know someone pretty well when you spend four hours with them on the golf course and then as many again over post-round replays."

Chappell said Warne was just more than a great leg-spinner as he inspired a generation of cricketers to take up his craft.

"Shane was more than just a leg spinner. He was an entertainer with enormous charisma who attracted attention wherever he went. His success generated millions of viewers to the game and brought the art of leg spin to life.

"It also spawned a new generation of leg spinners who tried to walk up to the crease and let it rip! What they didn't have was Shane's brute strength and native cunning, so very few have reached great heights," he said.

Chappell, a former India coach, feels Warne's public perception was "coloured" and misunderstood.

Shane Warne's state funeral to be held at MCG - reports

"What you got with Shane wasn't necessarily what you saw. You only got what he let you see. Most people’s impressions of him were coloured by what they gleaned from the way he was depicted in the media. That, often, only touched the surface," he wrote.

"Shane was the quintessential competitor. He loved games and he loved to pit himself against an opponent where he could utilise his mental acuity and his enormously strong self-belief. I have often experienced his uncanny ability to will the magical to happen.

"He had so much belief in his superpowers that he was usually staggered when it didn’t come off. It was invariably written off to extreme bad luck. Some of his golf opponents tried to use this against him by telling him how unlucky he was, but it is hard to kid a kidder," Chappell added.

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