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Saluting Rajasthan's one-man army Shane Warne

Last updated on: May 21, 2011 16:08 IST

Warne vs Tendulkar is always a much-anticipated contest

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As Shane Warne says a final goodbye to cricket, Manu Shankar salutes the Australian spin legend.

So it will be Shane Warne vs Sachin Tendulkar for one last time! It's like watching Mohammad Ali taking on Joe Frazier -- two of the greatest boxers the world has seen -- knowing that at the end of it all only one will emerge on top.

- I am going to miss the IPL, that's for sure: Warne

Despite that you are glued to the contest, because one, for sure, knows the two will come up with a great fight for their fans.

Well, unlike the Ali-Frazier bout, for the World Heavyweight Championship, Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians are looking to seal a berth in the play-offs, while Warne's Royals are out of the competition and playing only for pride.

Even then, Warne versus Tendulkar is always a much-anticipated contest each time they square off against each other.


Image: Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar

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Rajasthan's one-man army

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Ask Warnie and he will tell you he would love to go out on a high, by claiming the master's wicket and scripting victory for Rajasthan Royals.

- Sachin best I've played against: Warne

What better way to call it a day after leading the Indian Premier League franchise in all the four seasons the tournament has seen.

The bookmakers are going berserk, some offering 7-2 on Tendulkar becoming Warne's victim this evening.

As coach, player and mentor, Warne was a one-man army as far as Rajasthan Royals is concerned; no one, except his countryman Adam Gilchrist, perhaps, has had that aura around him.


Image: Shane Warne

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Warne led Rajasthan to inaugural IPL trophy

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When Warne took over as Rajasthan skipper in the inaugural edition of the IPL, in 2008, few gave the genius, and his team, a chance of winning the tournament.

- Warne to call it quits after IPL season

But he led a pack of unheralded players to the Rs 4.8 crore prize cheque, rounding off 44 days of a soap opera that had everything -- from drama to emotion -- for prime-time viewers.

The emergence of Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan is testimony to the fact that he is not just a match-winner, but also has the knack of picking match-winners.

Remember, he handed the ball to a young Kamran Khan in the Super Over against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL-2, and famously told the lad, 'You are a match-winner for me'?

That comes only from a great motivator like Warne.


Image: Shane Warne

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Warne-Hurley romance the talking point of IPL-4

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As his sojourn in the IPL comes to its end, sure fans of the T20 game will be left with many memories.

- Warne to call it quits after IPL season

Who will forget his spat, in the second edition in South Africa, with Sourav Ganguly over a catch? Or when he beat Rahul Dravid with a flipper, and foxed his Australian teammate Matthew Hayden with a brilliant 'wrong one'.

Warney, despite calling it quits from the game in 2007, showed why is considered the greatest spinner off all-time.

Off the pitch too Warne was always in the news. Whether it was his public show of love for Liz Hurley, or, more recently, the spat with Sanjay Dixit, or launching his 'Spinners', the lifestyle collection of menswear, there was never a dull moment with him around.


Image: Shane Warne

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Ball of the century

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Starting with the 'Ball of the century', when a certain Mike Gatting was bamboozled by the vicious leg-spin, Warne was all about a heady mix of glamour, cricket and controversy.

- Warne, Hurley, Spinners bowl over Mumbai

In 2000, he was stripped of the Australian team vice-captaincy after he had bombarded an English nurse with lewd text messages after meeting her in a nightclub.

A series of infidelities meant an ugly public break-up from his wife Simone of 10 years.

He missed the 2003 World Cup in South Africa after testing positive for a banned diuretic -- a weight-loss pill sometimes used to mask steroids. The drug scandal saw him being banned for a year. 

Though Warne soon bid farewell to ODIs, he returned to Tests in 2004, and went on to become the first man to get 700 Test wickets.


Image: Shane Warne

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Best captain Australia never had

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After four brilliant seasons with the IPL, there is no doubt that he is an incredibly astute cricket brain. It is not surprising that many still believe that he was perhaps was the best captain Australia never had.

- Warne still the best spinner in business: Watson

When the dust settles at the Wankhede stadium after the Mumbai Indians - Rajasthan Royals match, it's not only the IPL, but all of India and the gentleman's game, that will miss the great Victorian.

Warney, you were wonderful. Way to go!


Image: Shane Warne

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