The ongoing season of the IPL will be Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne's last one as a player. He will most likely continue to be associated with Rajasthan as a coach or advisor in the future.
"Yes this is my last year playing IPL - please come down and support RR last 2 home games v Chennai & Bangalore ! We need your help !!!!", Warne wrote on Twitter. He confirmed that this meant he would not play any more professional cricket matches after this IPL. "A big thank you to everyone that has helped me - supported me through all the ups and downs - hope you have enjoyed watching me play," he added.
Warne captained Rajasthan to victory in the inaugural season of the IPL but the franchise's fortunes slumped in the next two seasons. He has played 52 games for Rajasthan so far picking up 56 wickets at an average of 24.66. Rajasthan are currently fourth in the points table in this edition and Warne called on Rajasthan's fans to support them in their last two home games.
"We have a spirit in the squad similar to IPL 1 - it would be great to leave on a high - I'm proud of the way we have developed young players," Warne wrote.
Australia allrounder Shane Watson, who plays under Warne in the IPL, told ESPNcricinfo in an interview that Warne was keen to leave the game on a winning note, whenever that happened. "I think he's very motivated," Watson said. "After last year the way things panned out for Rajasthan, I think he's very motivated to make sure that whenever he leaves the game he leaves in a really good place. Warney's bowling unbelievably well and has been since the start of the tournament. There's only really one person who's ever been consistently able to do it as a legspinner and he's bowling absolutely beautifully."
The team released a statement praising Warne for his contribution while making clear his retirement as a player was not the end of his association with the franchise. "Shane Warne has been an integral part of Rajasthan Royals for the last four years," Raghu Iyer, the chief marketing officer, said. "He has been instrumental in nurturing young talent in the team and making Rajasthan Royals a formidable force in IPL. He will continue his association with the Royals in coming years and will offer his invaluable guidance to young players.
"We are looking forward to him assuming a larger role in the team and continuing adding value to the team's success."