Former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne will be a part of the Rajasthan Royals outfit as team mentor for this year's Indian Premier League (IPL). Warne took to Instagram and uploaded a video where he was seen making the announcement. "Got a huge announcement that I promised and that is that I will be joining the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL in season 2018 as team mentor. I am very thankful for the opportunity that I will mentoring the Royals, so I will be really looking forward to it and being back involved with the Royals. Have some wonderful memories, specially from 2008 where we won the inaugural year," said Warne in the video. The former Australian spin wizard was the captain of the Rajasthan Royals team that won the IPL in the year 2008.
Speaking about his memories in the IPL, Warne said, "The fans in India have always supported me through out my whole career but they really got behind us in 2008 with the Rajasthan Royals. As I said, great memories and the guys have done a wonderful job in putting the squad together with so many talented Indian players, international players, senior players and young junior players they always support. It really is a wonderful squad and think they are going to achieve some special things in 2018. So once again, I am delighted to announce that I am the team mentor for Rajasthan Royals and thank you for all your support. I can't wait to get there and remember the words, Hallo Bol."
Warne has taken 57 wickets in 55 matches in the IPL playing for Rajasthan Royals and was the man behind Royals' success in the inaugural year.
Warne will be joined by another Royals old hand in former Mumbai batsman Zubin Bharucha as Head of Cricket.
Warne and Bharucha s association at the Royals goes back to 2008. As part of Royals think-tank, the two forged a solid partnership and are looking forward to working with each other again.
Royals co-owner Manoj Badale was thrilled at Warne's return.
He is a legend of the game and what he has achieved in Rajasthan Royals is unmatchable, said Badale.
Bringing back Shane Warne is also a way of giving back to our fans who have stood by us in trying times. As we are looking to build a strong team that can be in contention for the title, we believe Warne is the right person to mentor the Rajasthan Royals."
Contrary to their thrifty approach previously, Royals spent big in the recent IPL auction, buying troubled England all-rounder Ben Stokes for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore and India pacer Jaydev Unadkat for Rs 11.5 crore.
Australian captain Steve Smith and India batsman Ajinkya Rahane are the other big names in the team.
(With PTI inputs)