Two days after Yusuf Pathan sealed a record chase for West Zone with an unbeaten 210 in the Duleep Trophy final against South, Rajasthan Royals’ skipper Shane Warne picked him as a trump card in the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The former Australian spinner, who is known for his tactical acumen and ability to galvanise youngsters, said: “Yusuf is a proven match-winner. We have a couple of little secret tactics for Yusuf this year against each team and I am sure we will get the desired results. If you look back over the last two years, fifty per cent of games that we won are because of Yusuf.”
“We are extremely happy the IPL will be held in India this year as the conditions suit our players. We obviously have a few new players, few that have come and gone, but overall, it’s a good unit full of young performers,” he said while announcing the franchise’s initiatives to spearhead the IPL beyond Indian borders.
The Rajasthan Royals on Monday announced the first global sporting franchise involving T20 teams from around the world.
Named the ‘Royals2020’, the new franchise aims to spread the IPL beyond Indian borders and grow its fan base.
An annual tournament, known as the ‘Royals Festival’, will feature the ‘Royals 2020’ teams from Australia (Victorian Bushrangers), South Africa (Cape Cobras), England (Hampshire County Cricket Club) and West Indies (Trinidad and Tobago).
On his plans for IPL-III, Warne pinned hope on rookie pacer Kamran Khan who injured himself mid way in South Africa last year. “Kamran (Khan) is showing great progress. I am hoping to see him back at top pace. It was very sad to lose him last year when he injured his knee. It will be great to have him back.”
Warne backed former Australian batsman Damien Martyn’s inclusion into the side. “Damien is that calm, experienced sort of batsman who has got the knowledge of how to play in those big moments. And I think he will be able to share with others how to handle yourself in different situations, how to target particular bowlers, how to prepare your innings, something he does so wonderfully.
“He is graceful, he is elegant, but the only question mark is that he hasn’t played international cricket for a while. But that applies to all of us, be it (Adam) Gilchrist, (Matthew) Hayden, myself or (Glenn) McGrath. We know we don’t play cricket either in between IPLs, but we are able to perform.
Damien’s role with the Royals will be significant. His presence, in fact, will give us more flexibility and he will make up for the absence for someone like Shane Watson at the top.”