Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, paid an emotional tribute to their “first royal” Shane Warne, who died of a suspected heart attack in Thailand on Friday. Warne’s sudden death on Friday caused great sorrow among many players involved in Rajasthan’s historic and only IPL title win.
When the Indian Premier League (IPL) was formed in 2008, no one expected the semi-retired 37-year-old Shane Warne to lead a Rajasthan Royals side built on a tight budget to host one of the most lucrative tournaments in the world to win.
After a humiliating season-opening loss to Delhi, Rajasthan won 11 of their next 13 games under Warne to top the table and qualify for the semi-finals where they beat Delhi and set a final with MS Dhonis Chennai. At the time, Dhoni was India’s darling, having guided them to the T20 World Cup a year earlier, and also the most expensive player at the IPL auction at $1.5 million.
And true to his reputation, he made a late cameo to set Rajasthan a tough target of 164, leading to a tense and thrilling chase. But it was Tanvir and Warne, the league’s top two wicket-takers, who batted valiantly as the chase led to the last ball of the inning, with Warne hitting the field midway down as Tanvir hit the winning run.
– Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 4, 2022
“Shane Warne. The name is magic. Our first royal; the man who made us believe the impossible is just a myth. A leader who walked the path, talked and made champions out of underdogs. A mentor who turned everything around he touched in gold,” read the statement from the Rajasthan royals.
“We don’t have the words to express how we really feel at the moment, but what we do know is that the world is poorer today, now without his smile, his brilliance and his attitude to live to the fullest, will exist We are heartbroken, as are millions of cricket fans around the world.
“Warnie, you will forever be our captain, leader, royal. Rest in peace legend.”