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    AFTER the World Cup final, Shane Warne hovered over the triumphant Australians like the sad old uncle at an 18th birthday party, writes Richard Hinds.

    A $2 million pay day beckons for Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc, who are in the frame to be ranked No.1 on Cricket Australia’s lucrative contract list.

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    LEG spin is set to return to the Australian Test side, with Pakistan-born Fawad Ahmed expected to be named in the dual-squads for the Ashes and West Indies.

    Sporting greats to be honoured at MCG

    Dec 26, 2010

    The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) today announced an expansion to the list of sporting statues placed around the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) precinct in partnership with Australia Post.

    The Australia Post Avenue of Legends project will see a minimum of one statue per year for the next five years placed in Yarra Park, extending from the Gate 2 MCC members entrance up the avenue towards Wellington Parade.

    Speaking at the official Boxing Day Test luncheon in the MCG’s Olympic Room today, MCC president David Meiklejohn also announced that the first statue in the series will feature Australian and Victorian cricketing legend Shane Warne. 

    “It is appropriate that on Boxing Day – four years on from his last Test match at the MCG – we announce that the first statue in the Australia Post Avenue of Legends series will feature Shane Warne,” said Mr Meiklejohn. “Shane’s playing record is unparalleled and he will sit comfortably alongside the 10 sporting greats already outside the MCG. 

    We are most grateful to Australia Post for supporting the sporting and cultural heritage of the MCG and surrounding precinct.”

    Mr Louis Laumen, sculptor of the 10 statues already outside the MCG, has been engaged to sculpt the work. An unveiling of the Shane Warne statue is expected towards the end of 2011. 

    "Australia Post has always been a great supporter of celebrating Australian achievement and our sporting heroes are so important to the fabric of Australian culture,” said Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director and CEO of Australia Post.

    “The MCG truly is the people’s ground and we are proud to support the concept of the Avenue of Legends that people of all walks of life can enjoy for years to come."

    The 10 statues already outside the MCG are cricketers Sir Donald Bradman, Keith Miller, Bill Ponsford and Dennis Lillee, Australian Rules footballers Ron Barassi, Leigh Matthews, Dick Reynolds and Haydn Bunton and athletes Shirley Strickland and Betty Cuthbert.