Warne cherishes IPL stint
Mumbai - Australia's retiring spin legend Shane Warne on Friday said he hoped he had made the game richer during his four-year stint with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
"It's been a privilege and a pleasure to captain the Royals. Hopefully, I've helped Indian cricket," Warne said after leading his team to a crushing 10-wicket victory over Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians in his farewell game.
"When I retired in January 2007, I thought that's it, I'll sit back and watch the game, but I have had four great years in the IPL. You never say never, especially in my life, but I would like to stay involved.
"I would like to say thank you to my team-mates, they are a great group of guys and I am proud of the way they conducted themselves on and off the field."
Rajasthan missed out on the playoffs but their disappointment was eased somewhat by the winning end to their campaign, scripted by all-rounder Shane Watson.
Watson grabbed three wickets for 19 runs and then smashed 89 off just 47 balls studded with six sixes and nine fours to be named man of the match.
"When someone of the class of Shane Watson plays like that it shows you how good he is," said Warne, 41.
"Our intensity was up, it showed how well we can play. I think we won six games, if we had won one or two more, we would have been right up there."
Watson and his teammate Rahul Dravid paid rich tributes to their inspirational leader.
"Warne has been an amazing mentor to me throughout my career, we'll definitely miss him but he won't be far away. He will always be around the Rajasthan Royals and me, in Australian cricket," said Watson.
Dravid praised Warne's influence on the team.
"It was good to finish on a high and a great way to send off Warney, he is a legend of the game and has been brilliant in our dressing room," said the former Indian captain.
Warne also earned accolades from his girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley, who was at hand to cheer her boyfriend.
"He did fantastically. It was a real honour to watch him play today," said the fashion diva, dressed in a figure-hugging black top and jeans.
Warne, in turn, tweeted his appreciation for Hurley.
"Thank you for being here with me for - last ever game, sharing the experience means a lot to me. it's nice to know you now love cricket and I am finishing up !!"