IPL news March 7, 2012

Rajasthan Royals sign Owais Shah

Rajasthan Royals have signed Owais Shah, the England batsman, as a replacement for their former captain Shane Warne, who retired from all forms of the game during last season's IPL.

Shah, who has been part of the Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and the now defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala in previous tournaments, was instrumental in the Hobart Hurricane's run to the semi-finals of the Big Bash League this season. He averaged an impressive 70.50 from eight games, scoring 282 runs at a strike rate of 149.20.

"We are delighted to have signed on Owais Shah to play for the Rajasthan Royals," Raghu Iyer, the chief executive of the Royals, said in a statement. "He is one of the most exciting batsmen in the world and has been particularly outstanding in the shorter forms of the game." Shah should slot into the middle order, where he could be a replacement for Ross Taylor as the team's finisher. Taylor was traded to the Delhi Daredevils last month.

Shah was originally bought by the Delhi Daredevils for $275,000 in the 2009 player auction but did not get a game. Statistically, his best season came in 2010, after he was traded to the Knight Riders. He averaged 57.50 from five games that year, leading the team in that category. In 2011, he was bought by the Kerala for $200,000 but only played three games, making 26 runs from two innings with a strike-rate of 173.33.

He was unsold in the 2012 player auction after the Kochi franchise was terminated by the BCCI and a number of players added to this year's auction list. Warne captained the Royals for the first four seasons before pulling down the curtain on his IPL career. Rahul Dravid has succeeded him as captain.

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo