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Rajasthan Royals pays ’emotional tribute’ to Warne

FILE PHOTO: Rajasthan Royals cricket team captain Shane Warne talks to a teammate during the IPL Twenty20 match between Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on April 9, 2011. (NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

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 (5).

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 Yusuf Pathan into popular names.

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.”

Shane Warne dies of suspected heart attack at 52
Shane Warne (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Warne, who revived the art of leg-spin and took 708 Test wickets in his glittering but controversial career, captained Australia 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.

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

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.”

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.”

(AFP)

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