Shane Warne was captain and coach of Rajasthan Royals © Getty Images
Shane Warne was captain and coach of Rajasthan Royals © Getty Images

In match 10 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), commentators caught hold of Shane Warne, winning captain of the inaugural IPL edition in 2008. Talking to the commentary panel, Warne shared his thoughts on how he sees IPL and also cherished one of his career’s most glorious moments of lifting the coveted trophy, 10 years back. Warne not only  relished the memories from Rajasthan Royals (RR)’s successful campaign in 2008, but also spoke about IPL’s evolution, picked up his tournament favourites and applauded leg spinners’ role and emergence in the shortest format. IPL 2017 Points Table, Match Results & Team Standing: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) jump to No. 1 spot

“It is fantastic to think back 10 years ago…When we first started we didn’t really know about franchises, players going to auctions, the way the things have gone, the way the guys are playing…The bowling skills and the batting skills. It’s just great to see how it has evolved. It’s a wonderful tournament”, Warne stated onhow the cash-rich league has panned out over the years.

Warne was not only donning the skipper’s role when he led Rajasthan Royals(RR) to the maiden title, he was also acting as the head coach. On being asked how the dynamics work with the local players as an overseas player and captain, he said it is quite tough.

“We had 6 different coaches. Some players didn’t understand English much. It was quite hard to set fields sometimes. But we used to gel together and there were many youngsters 10 years ago and it’s great to see some of the youngsters playing for India. It made easier for the young Indian players to get exposed to international captains, players, pace bowlers, batsmen. Those Indian players mixing with those international players is good for Indian cricket. I think it’s lot to do with India becoming No. 1 side in the world now. It’s also great to break down the barriers with international cricket teams too. It’s a wonderful tournament and I miss it because it was a great fun in 2008″, stated the former Australian spin wizard.

Leg spinners have become a vital cog in the shortest format. The current performance of SRH’s Rashid Khan proves how difficult it is to face a leg spinner in a crunch situation of a match. Throwing light on leg spinners’ emergence and how they have impressed Warne, he added, “Yes, spinners have done pretty well in the 20-20 format of the game. Most people think they are step in, fetch in bowlers but in 20-20 they have actually done well. You see Rashid (Khan) come all the way from Afghanistan playing in the IPL now just shows you what a global tournament this is and I think he wouldn’t have got a lot of coaching growing up as a kid in Afghanistan. Good to see him playing and he is just outstanding.”

The 10th edition of IPL commenced a few days ago at Hyderabad. Since then, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), SRH and Mumbai Indians (MI) have emerged as front runners forthis year’s title. Warne gave his opinion on which team can progress further in the event. ”All the sides are so close but I think SRH and RCB. RCB managed to scalp a win the other night. Shane Watson has captained the side really well. AB de Villiers has now come back, (Virat) Kohli is going to comeback to the side so I think RCB could be tough to beat too but I’d like to to say Sunrisers”, told the 47-year-old.

Warne was asked as to how much emphasise would he give for a leg-spinner in T20s as compared to long format in spinning the ball. He replied, ”We look at fast bowlers for fast bowling but if you look at spinners, specially wrist-spinners, you want them to spin the ball not bowl fast and straight. To me it’s all about spinning the ball. You can make it go both ways, whether you are a fast bowler or a spin bowler. The emphasis should be on spinning the ball, no matter you are right-arm off-spinner, left-armer”, concluded the former leg spinner.