Iconic spin legend Shane Warne has decided that this edition of IPL will be his last as a professional cricketer. He confirmed the news in Twitter where he wrote, “Yes this is my last year playing IPL. 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 also urge all the Rajasthan Royals fans to come down for the last two home matches if the team and lend their support for his last appearances as a sportsman. “Please come down and support RR for the last 2 home games vs. Chennai & Bangalore! We need your help!!!! Want RR to go out on a high – we must win at least 2 if not 3 of our last 4.”
Warne who retired from international cricket in 2007 after the Ashes, ending up with a tally of 708 wickets in Test matches and 293 wickets in ODI matches, also expressed his satisfaction, to have helped Indian cricket in evolving young players. “I will miss the IPL but it’s been fun for the last 4 seasons. RR has always promoted youth and Indian cricket has been the winner – I’ve had a great time – but it’s time to say goodbye to IPL.”
Warne was cordial to thank all his teammates, “To my teammates can I say thanks for your support – you guys have made it fun/enjoyable to play.”
He further greeted all his fans with a big thank you, by tweeting “To my fans – THANK YOU – you’re the best! I have always tried to be entertaining on the field – cricket to me has never been a job it’s been my hobby. Love the game and the people!!”
He finally reiterated his plea to all his fans to support them at their two home games and hoped to enjoy his last four games.
The Rajasthan Royals Chief Marketing Officer Raghu Iyer said that Warne had been an “integral part” of the team and was definitely responsible for “making the Rajasthan Royals a formidable force in the IPL.”
He also added that Warne might continue to add value to the team in the forth coming editions in the capacity of a coach or a mentor, something which Warne has done for the past 4 years as well.
Even though Warne has been through a number of ups and downs in his life including a two year ban, before he came back and won Australia the Ashes in 2007, one cannot deny that he has probably been the best wrist spinner in the world alongside Muralitharan. One can only wish the wizard all the success and hope that he provides valuable inputs to World Cricket at large.