Shane Warne on Friday announced that the ongoing Indian Premier League season will be his last as a player, while his future in the Rajasthan Royals set-up is likely to be lined with coaching and advisory roles.
The Australian great has captained the franchise through four editions of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament, with triumph in 2008’s inaugural final his finest moment with the Royals.
Behind Rudrap Pratap’s 58 scalps, the 41-year-old leg-spinner is the IPL’s joint-second highest wicket-taker alongside Pragyan Ojha with 56 victims.
“Yes this is my last year playing IPL – please come down and support RR last 2 home games v chennai & Bangalore ! We need your help !!!!”, Warne revealed on Twitter.
“A big thank you to everyone that has helped me – supported me through all the ups and downs – hope you have enjoyed watching me play.
“Re next year, who knows what or if I will be involved in IPL re mentor / coaching – am focused on doing best for RR this year – see u at ground,”
Currently fourth in the 10-team standings, Rajasthan remain in the running for a semi-final berth, with Warne hopeful graduation to the tourney’s last four teams will afford him an extended farewell.
“It’s 100 per cent my last four games of professional cricket unless we make (the) finals – maybe I have 5 or 6 left,” he added on the social network.
“We have a spirit in the squad similar to IPL 1 – it would be great to leave on a high – I’m proud of the way we have developed young players.”
Rajasthan were quick to acknowledge Warne’s contribution in shaping the franchise and said they will continue to look to the player for guidance in future editions.
“Shane Warne has been an integral part of Rajasthan Royals for the last four years,” said chief marketing officer Raghu Iyer.
“He has been instrumental in nurturing young talent in the team and making Rajasthan Royals a formidable force in IPL.
“We are looking forward to him assuming a larger role in the team and continuing adding value to the team’s success.”
Prior to the inception of the IPL, Warne played 145 Tests and 194 ODIs across an epic 15-year international career. His 708 Test scalps , including 10 10-wicket match hauls, remain an Australian record. Cricket365