Shane Warne announced on Twitter that this will be his last season of the IPL as a player. In effect, this means that after the 28th of May 2011, he will retire from every form of cricket. And this at a time when his bowling form has quite the bite and his captaincy is at its absolute sharpest.
Years ago, on 21st Dec, 2006, when he announced his retirement from international cricket, the IPL wasn't even thought of and cricket fans and more specifically admirers of this leg-spinning legend thought that that was the last we would see of him.
Warnie as India coach one day?
But four seasons of the IPL gave us so much more not just of Warnie the bowler, but also a good look at one of the greatest captains that Australia never had as he took the most underrated side of the IPL to a brilliant victory in Season 1!
The IPL, over these four years has given us those extra innings... those incredible, memorable knocks, from many a legend who had signed out of international cricket and all its extensive travel only to join the bandwagon again, don club colors and go out there to give their all to four overs with the ball or a big old bash with the bat!
Who can forget the unforgettable Season 2 where Adam Gilchrist pulled his team out of the bottom position of the year before and took them to the top, with a personal total of 495 runs. This from a much retired Aussie opener, who captained a side of young Indian newbies with great wisdom.
And then there was his partner in crime from the Australian team who entertained India and the world, in the 1st three seasons of the IPL, Matthew Hayden, who up top, was known to cut loose... with or without the Mongoose! For three seasons he was the supercharged spark to the firepower in a team full of fiery fellows in their yellows!
And who can ever forget Anil Kumble (who now mentors the Royal Challengers Bangalore team and has made some super selection decisions during the auction and after) take 5 for 5 vs the Rajasthan Royals in the opening game of IPL 2. He now sits with great dignity and cheers his team from the dugout, knowing full well that his sharp cricketing brain and years of experience will hold him in good stead in the position he holds.
And unlike him, there is Sourav Ganguly, on whom the entire world of cricket enforced retirement, but yet he refuses to hang up his boots. Dada believes his willow still has some talking left to do. And who knows... he may be the one who changes the fortunes of the Pune Warriors.
And finally there is the one and only Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who in this T20 format, has shown that after more than 20 years of cricket he has a strike rate better than he had at 20!
What we here in India have enjoyed thanks to the IPL is seeing new facets in some already great men. The IPL has brought out the very best, in the best in the business! Whether retired or not, in a mentor's position, a player's slot or in captaincy, we are getting to see brilliance from them. And for all these 'extras' that they have conceded to us, the viewers, through this cricket extravaganza, we are thankful!
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