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Like wine, getting better with age

cricket Updated: Apr 13, 2011 02:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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One major focus of Twenty20 cricket is to wean new, young fans who have many other games to follow, especially on television. However, on the field, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 4 is again proving that class is permanent.

Shane Warne, regarded as the finest spinner ever, is 41 years old and retired from the international game. But he still bamboozles younger batsmen, and more importantly, providing vital leadership to Rajasthan Royals.

The winners of the inaugural edition were not even sure they would make it to this season and perhaps had to be content with a weaker lineup than they would have liked.

On Tuesday, against Delhi Daredevils, he struck twice with his first three deliveries. Warne, never known for his fitness, appears to have put in some effort, he has inspired the side in his unique style.

“Every franchise aims to win the IPL, and we dream the same way,” said Warne. “It’s been just two matches that we have won, and we’d like to go about quietly with our business.”

Providing him crucial support is Rahul Dravid. The ex-India skipper would have loved to be in that World Cup winning dressing room, but has showed his classical batting style can still be so valuable for the T20 game.

In the first win against Deccan Chargers, he laid the foundation as the opener. In Jaipur, Dravid opened up to play delightful shots as the Royals chased a bigger total. Warne and Dravid later were in animated discussion in the dug out, planning how to guide the younger lot.

Warne paid tribute to Dravid. “I think, people have earlier told him over the years that T20 is not for him. “But to me, he is pure class. What he has done for Indian cricket over the years is phenomenal.”

The wisdom from experience is also helping Mumbai Indians (Sachin Tendulkar), Kings XI Punjab (Adam Gilchrist) and Kochi Tuskers (VVS Laxman).