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Shane Warne 'made us believe', say IPL's Rajasthan Royals

Australian cricket icon Shane Warne in action for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. Photo: @rajasthanroyals/Twitter

Australian cricket icon Shane Warne in action for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. Photo: @rajasthanroyals/Twitter

Published Mar 5, 2022


Mohali — Shane Warne was often called "the best captain Australia never had", and the Indian Premier League side he led to a title triumph in 2008 paid tribute to the late Australian bowler Saturday.

The victory for the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition of the world's most valuable cricket tournament not only lit up the Twenty20 contest but also turned several rookie Indian cricketers including Ravindra Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan into popular names.

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The Royals have not won again in the 13 subsequent seasons and paid an emotional tribute to the spin legend, who passed away on Friday aged 52 due to a suspected heart attack.

"Shane Warne. The name stands for magic. Our first Royal, a man who made us believe that impossible is just a myth," the team said in a statement.

"A leader who walked the walk, talked the talk, and turned underdogs into champions. A mentor who turned everything he touched into gold."

The Royals added: "Warnie, you're forever going to be our captain, leader, Royal. Rest in peace, legend."

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Warne, who revived the art of leg spin and took 708 Test wickets in his glittering but controversial career, captained Australian state side Victoria and the English county Hampshire.

He also led Australia's one-day side temporarily but reportedly lost out in the race to lead the national Test team to Ricky Ponting due to his off-field dramas.

But his teammates at the Royals hailed Warne as a leader par excellence.

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Jadeja was nicknamed "Rockstar" by Warne, whom he found himself playing with straight after his stint in under-19 cricket.

"When I met him for the first time in 2008 then he was a big name and it was surreal to play with a legend," Jadeja said after his 175 not out in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali.

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"To share the dressing room with Warne was a huge thing for youngsters like us.

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"It's sad that life is uncertain and anything could happen. But may he rest in peace."

Yusuf, who went on to win a 50-over World Cup with India after his IPL heroics, tweeted: "He was one of the skippers I always rated very highly. Very tough to consume this news. Condolences to his family and dear ones."

Australia's Shane Watson, who was part of Royals' title win, said, "Warnie, the impact you had on this great game and everyone around it is immeasurable. Thank you for being so bloody good to me. I am going to miss you so much. Rest In Peace SK."

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Warne's life has been the subject of a recent documentary — titled "Shane" — on a digital platform where he said: "I wouldn't have liked to play against me. I was nasty."