No Warne for Royals!

By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, Feb. 29 -- He coached and captained Rajasthan Royals successfully in the first edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. But last year, champion leg spinner Shane Warne announced his retirement from professional cricket. Soon after, the Royals stated that they are "looking forward to him assuming a larger role in the team".

But even as the fifth edition of IPL gets set to kick-off in April, team co-owner Raj Kundra says Shane "has had his innings (with Rajasthan Royals)". "He is doing his own thing and is busy with his girlfriend (Liz Hurley)," says Kundra, adding, "Shane was with us for four years, and he has been great. But we need to move on and give Rahul Dravid (new captain) a chance. He is a great idol, and that's why all the kids look up to him." But isn't Rahul seen as a player who doesn't fit the IPL mould?

"Hence we kept him for a year with Shane. We believe he has the potential to captain the team," says Kundra, adding, "Still we had to persuade Rahul to become the captain. but we feel he will deliver. The main reason being he got a chance to experience how Shane worked in an out-of-the-box manner. Plus, he comes with his own mindset. He is a focused cricketer, very disciplined and his training is better than anyone I know in the cricketing world."

At the same time, Kundra accepts that the absence of Pakistani players has hit his team. "It definitely hit us but it's 20-20 cricket and that's entertainment and not pure cricket. So, the team that comes first one year can end up at the last position in the next and vice versa. This year, we have picked up a couple of good Sri Lankan players, and Brad Hodge and S Sreesanth. So, we've got a nice mix," he says.

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