Shane Warne

A semi-retired 37-year-old player lead a Rajasthan Royals to win inaugural IPL title  (IPL Match)

Shane Warne to lead a Rajasthan Royals side built on a shoestring budget to win one of the most lucrative tournaments in the world

Warne, who had already retired from tests and one-day international cricket after claiming over 1,000 international wickets, was considered a spent force in the short, fast-paced format that heavily favoured the youngsters. 14 years have gone but no IPL champions ever had as dominant single season as Royals under Warne did, also the only team with not Star studded players but what he did was absolutely exceptional.

After a humbling season-opening loss to Delhi, Rajasthan won 11 of the next 13 games under Warne to top the table and qualify for the semi-finals, where they thrashed Delhi and set up a final with MS Dhoni’s Chennai. At the time, Dhoni was India’s darling after leading them to the T20 World Cup a year earlier and also the most expensive player in the IPL auction at $1.5 million.

“I don’t think there’s been too many better teams that I’ve played in during my career,” said Warne, who won a World Cup with Australia in 1999 and was a key member of the squad that won a record 16 tests in a row.

Warne’s sudden death

Warne’s sudden death on Friday brought an outpouring of grief from many of the players involved in Rajasthan’s historic and only IPL title win.

RR paid rich tributes to Warne and tweeted, “Shane Warne: The name stands for magic. Our first Royal; a man who made us believe that impossible is just a myth. A leader who walked the walk, talked the talk and turned underdogs into champions.

“A mentor who turned everything he touched into gold. We don’t have the words to express what we truly feel at the moment, but what we know is that the world is poorer today, as it will now exist without his smile, his brilliance, and his attitude to live life to its fullest. We’re completely heartbroken, as are millions of cricket fans all around the world.

“Warnie, you are forever going to be our captain, leader, Royal. Rest in peace, legend.”

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