Rajasthan Royals (RR) came victorious in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League in IPL 2008 under the leadership of the late legend Shane Warne. Since then, RR didn’t qualify for the finals again until now.
IPL 2022 has presented a good opportunity to the Sanju Samson-led RR team to win the title for the second time, as they get ready for the finals against the Gujarat Titans (GT) to be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, May 29.
The main man behind Rajasthan’s victory in IPL 2008 was Shane Warne, who died of a heart attack earlier in 2022. Samson had said in an earlier instance, “Right from the start, this tournament has been for Shane Warne. We need to take one more step for him.”
Rajasthan Royals and their fans have showered their love and respect for the magical leg-spinner, calling him the ‘First Royal’.
However, what most people don’t know is that Warne had almost quit the franchise ahead of IPL 2008. The reason behind such a call came as a result of selection differences with the owner of the team, Manoj Badale.
The former Aussie cricketer mentions in his autobiography, ‘No Spin’, a detailed account of the incident involving Badale, who intended to include a player in RR’s 16-member squad. The discussion concerning the inclusion of the unidentified player took place following the trimming down of the list of 50 players by skipper Warne, along with the coaches.
After trials for 10 days, Warne was impressed by the then uncapped Ravindra Jadeja and Swapnil Asnodkar. But Badale kept insisting on adding another uncapped player, who Warne refers to as Asif in his book. The insistence on Asif’s inclusion by Badale was because of his statistics.
Captain and coach of the then RR team, Warne, was not impressed by his performance during the team trials.
“If I put Asif in that group, they’ll know he’s not good enough and that he’s there because of some hidden favoritism. At that point, I’ll lose them. So if you want Asif in the squad, that’s fine, but I’ll give you your money back – I don’t want to be part of it.” ‘Are you serious?’ asked Manoj (Badale). ‘I’m deadly serious,’ I said. ‘Let me sleep on it.’,” Warne wrote in his autobiography.
Seeing Warne’s determination regarding the squad he wanted to keep, Badale had no other option but to back off. Although he kept trying to convince Warne to keep Asif in the dugout, if not in the squad, it did not change the mind of the legendary cricketer.
“‘No, the area is too small for all of us as it is, and, anyway, I don’t want him just sitting there, because again it looks like we’re doing him a favor. So no.’ ‘Okay,’ said Manoj,” Warne added.
(Hindustan Times inputs)