Warnie as India coach one day?

Last Updated: Sat, May 07, 2011 14:35 hrs

Shane Warne had a great international career. He was the world's leading Test bowler at one stage and universally recognized as a master of guile and spin. He was the man of the match in the 1999 World Cup final, his four wickets helping trigger a Pakistan collapse of 132 all down. He saw his team enjoy a long reign in both Tests and ODIs. But he had two regrets:

One was that he didn't score a Test century. The second was that he was not the long term captain of the Australian cricket team. That is something where his rival Anil Kumble scored over him, doing both.

But the IPL has at least partly addressed that problem. Warne has been captain of the Rajasthan Royals for four seasons, winning the inaugural title. That must be very satisfying for the legendary spinner.

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Another ambition that Warne has expressed is the coaching of the Indian cricket team. The IPL may help him do that to. He is expected to return as coach of Rajasthan Royals next year too. He has already coached a huge number of Indian players and he is getting "Indianized" thanks to his current experiences.
Warnie is only 41 and has time on his side. He may one day well become Team India coach.

If that happens, then he'll have in part his IPL days to be thankful for!

The dynamic orange cap

The most unpredictable thing about the current IPL is who will wear the Orange Cap at the end of the season. The Purple Cap has stuck to Lasith Malinga's head like glue. The performance of various teams has also stabilized half-way through the tournament.

But who will be the leading run scorer? There's a game of musical chairs going on right now. Sachin Tendulkar and Paul Valtathy emerged as leaders earlier on. Then Virat Kohli got it and after a few matches found himself at fifth position!

But the most brutal assault to get the Orange Cap was unleashed by Virender Sehwag. His 56-ball 119 against Deccan Chargers not only helped chased a target of 176 with ease (they were 25-3 at one stage), but it propelled him straight past the 400-mark for the season.

So many runs at an astonishing strike rate 179! But knowing Sehwag, you are left wondering why it didn't come much earlier!

But despite all that, the best batsman has got to be Chris Gayle. After mere 4 matches he made 284 runs at an average of 95 and strike rate nearing 200 with two centuries to boot!

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With this kind of form, imagine if he had played 8-10 matches by now? The West Indies went narrowly down 2-3 to Pakistan in the recent ODI series. A destructive Gayle might have just turned the tide for the Windies.

But ODI's loss is IPL's gain!

For overall IPL career captaincy, MS Dhoni and Warne are going neck and neck. Both have captained 50 odd matches each and won 30 odd matches each. Both also have won a title each with Dhoni gaining the edge thanks to his Champions League crown.    

Gambhir beats Yuvi and Sehwag

When Sourav Ganguly was captain of Team India, two future captains were Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. Both fell by the wayside when MS Dhoni burst into the scene.

But one can still debate, after Dhoni who? Sehwag has captained Tests and ODIs on and off and has seemed indifferent at times as an IPL captain. One would have thought that after the World Cup Yuvi's career would have been revived again. But he has not been a very successful IPL captain before and after.

In fact, the dark horse appears to be Gautam Gambhir. First he blanked New Zealand 5-0 in an ODI series, phenomenal for a first time effort. Then he took over the reigns of Kolkata Knight Riders. A team that had been languishing for three seasons suddenly looked totally different. Gambhir can be credited with the turnaround.

IPL 2011

Gauti has 3000 Test and 4000 ODI runs and is a seasoned veteran by now.

The IPL can be a grooming ground for future captains too!

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.

He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/