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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Am surprised at how well I bowled: Warne

Am surprised at how well I bowled: Warne

Last updated on: May 21, 2011 09:40 IST

Wily spinner, astute captain, complete player

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Bikash Mohapatra

He is arguably one of the last characters the gentleman's game has had.

A wily leg-spinner, a complete player and an astute captain, Shane Warne was one of the most complete cricketers ever.

- IPL-4 2011 coverage

Having brought down the curtain on an illustrious international career claiming 706 Test and 293 ODI wickets -- in January 2007, the Australian took up a fresh challenge a year later.

The opportunity to lead (and coach) Rajasthan Royals, a franchisee in the newly-formed Indian Premier League (IPL), helped Warne assume a role he never could with his national team -- that of captain.

To say Warne succeeded in this role would be an understatement.


Image: Shane Warne

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Best captain Australia never had

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Having led an underrated Rajasthan Royals to an unexpected title in the inaugural edition in 2008, Warne ensured the team punched above their weight in the three subsequent editions.

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And in these four years the Australian also groomed several talented players and helped them hone their skills. The likes of Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja, to name a few, owe a lot of their success to this Australian maestro.

Warne's considerable success in leading a team mostly comprising local talent made many experts remark he was the best captain Australia never had.


Image: Shane Warne and his players with the 2008 IPL trophy

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'We showed that when we fire we are the best'

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On Friday, Warne's second innings came to an end.

A comprehensive 10-wicket win over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede may have been too little, too late to prop Rajasthan Royals' fortunes in the fourth edition of the IPL. However, it was enough to ensure Warne's impressive IPL career ended on a winning note.

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And as the 41-year-old walked in for his final interaction with the fourth estate, he was palpably emotional. What he spoke in the few minutes that followed came straight from the heart, no diplomatic answers whatsoever.

"We showed that when we do fire we are the best team in the competition," said Warne, regarding the win over Mumbai.


Image: Shane Warne

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'Unfortunately, our batsmen did not fire throughout'

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The captain couldn't hide the disappointment of having failed to lead his team to the play-offs.

"We won six games and had a washout (against Bangalore)," explained the Australian about his team's campaign, adding, "However, we did not play well in the last three or four games (referring to the twin defeats to Chennai and losses to Bangalore and Kochi).

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"It was disappointing. Unfortunately, our batsmen did not fire throughout the tournament.

"If Shane (Watson) had one more innings like that (89 not out against MI) and Ross (Taylor) had one or two good innings, we would have finished first or second."


Image: Shane Warne

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'We have won the second most number of games after Chennai'

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However, the disappointment soon made way for optimism.  

"The way we played in our last game (against MI) shows we could turn it on," continued Warne, adding, "One or two games here or there and that would have fetched us 17 points. And maybe a spot in the play-offs."

For the record Rajasthan ended their campaign with 13 points from 14 matches. And the retiring captain expressed happiness over his team's performances in the four years he was in charge.

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"I am really proud of the way our guys have conducted themselves on and off the field," said Warne, adding, "We have won the second most number of games after Chennai and it is a tremendous record.

"I am proud of the way we have played over the last few years and also at our success in unearthing local talent."


Image: Shane Warne

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'I don't see myself playing a game again'

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Warne was also appreciative of his own bowling effort.  

"I am surprised myself at how well I bowled at this age," he said, of his performance in the last four years that saw him finish with a whopping 57 wickets in 55 matches.

"I can assure you my decision to retire has got nothing to do with my bowling," he added, tongue-in-cheek.

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The Australian, however, clarified, he won't be returning to the tournament either as a player or as a coach.

"I don't see myself playing a game again," said Warne.

"And I am certainly not coming back as a full-time coach," he added, before going on to explain his point of view.

"I won't be 100 per cent in the entire tournament," he said, adding, "And there is definitely no point in being here for seven weeks if you are not playing.

"But I may come in as a consultant, may be for 10 days prior to the tournament or some time in between.

"At this stage of my life I can never say never.

"The owners of the team have been good to me and I will do all I can to make them happy." 


Image: Shane Warne

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