They say the first time’s the best, whether it’s getting lucky with the girl next door or the maiden IPL, the old saying holds just as true. In 2008, cricket just got it’s own billion-dollar baby, a showstopper league with the who’s who of world cricket. It was only fitting, then, that the league was won by the all-time greatest showman the game has known — Shane Warne. The Royals were the cheapest franchise with the lowest budget, a host of Indian journeymen, and handpicked international players and coaches.
Warne’s captaincy was inspirational, he marshalled his troops with aplomb, was always thinking two steps ahead of the opposition. His legendary bowling was as magical as ever and he finished as the second leading wicket-taker in the tournament. He even won his team a match off his own bat, hitting 17 runs off the final over to seal a win over the Deccan Chargers.
The team, of course, was about more than just Warne; it was about the idea he instilled, collective effort. Graeme Smith won a few off his bat, as did his pint-sized opening partner from Goa, Swapnil Asnodkar. Ravindra Jadeja earned his spurs, Shane Watson showed the destruction he’s capable of if he’s fit for a long enough period of time. Sohail Tanvir was exceptional as the leader of the pack. Together with Warne, they showed that cricket is still a team game.