The maverick leg-spinner has a long history with the IPL outfit whom he famously led to the title in the maiden edition during 2008.
His appointment was confirmed by the franchise on Tuesday and only last week Warne himself had posted a tweet which led to speculation that he might be in the fray to be associated with the franchise in some manner for the upcoming edition.
“Looking forward to making an announcement to you guys this week which I’m very excited about & yes it involves the #IPL2018,” the 48-year-old had written on Twitter.
“He is a legend of the game and what he has achieved in Rajasthan Royals is unmatchable,” Royals co-owner Manoj Badale said, reacting to Warne’s appointment.
“Bringing back Shane Warne is also a way of giving back to our fans who have stood by us in trying times. As we are looking to build a strong team that can be in contention for the title, we believe Warne is the right person to mentor the Rajasthan Royals.”
On his part, the ace leg-spinner said: “Rajasthan Royals holds a very special place in my cricketing journey. I am overwhelmed by the love and affection showered on me by the franchise and fans of Rajasthan Royals.”
Warne, in his role as captain-cum-coach, had led the Jaipur-based outfit to a fairytale like win in the maiden edition, beating Chennai Super Kings in a thrilling final.
He was instrumental in mentoring young players that time too, with young Ravindra Jadeja benefitting tremendously under his tutelage.
Another Aussie in Steve Smith will lead the Rajasthan Royals side come April.
The 34-year-old has been a crucial component of the Mumbai side’s success in the IPL over the course of the past decade but went unsold in the auctions this time around.
Malinga will now join a high-profile coaching staff at the franchise which includes Mahela Jayawardene as the head coach, batting coach Robin Singh, bowling coach Shane Bond and fielding coach James Pemmet.
“It’s a great opportunity to be present with, and an honour to continue my association with Mumbai Indians. Mumbai has been my home away from home for the last decade. As a player, I have enjoyed the journey with Mumbai Indians and now as mentor, I look forward to the new chapter,” Malinga said after his appointment.
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani was delighted to have the Sri Lankan onboard ahead of the 11th edition of the IPL.
“Mumbai Indians has proven record of scouting and bringing forth the young talents at National stage. It will be a boon for these youngsters as well the established ones to have the combine force of Shane Bond and Lasith Malinga to back them,” he said.
“Malinga has been a pillar of strength for Mumbai Indians since the inception of the team, and his passion for the team will help us achieve new heights,” Ambani added.
The veteran has appeared in 110 of the total 156 matches the franchise has played in the decade-long competition.
The mega-auction style of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has come under fire from the New Zealand Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA).
In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, Heath Mills, chief executive of the NZPCA said: “The IPL Auction is such an undignified, cruel and unnecessary employment practice. Ridiculous that it exists today, belongs in the medieval ages.
“There’s a lot of good things about the IPL and it’s been great for cricket but I’d like to see it mirror the rest of professional sport in the way they engage athletes,” Mills added.
This brings up the question of whether the IPL needs to move away from the auction system into a draft style approach adopted by many professional leagues around the world.
Since its inception in 2008, the IPL has incorporated the ‘mega’ auction which has turned into a spectacle of its own. When once thinks about the scramble for the world’s best cricketers, the picture of auctioneer Richard Madley wielding the hammer springs to mind immediately.
While the approach of the various franchises bidding for an individual player makes for some great television, it does present the possibility of a player going unsold for all to see. Several big names have gone unsold over the years with England’s Joe Root the latest such example.
The very idea that a player has no control over his destiny once entered in the auction seems to run contrary to most professional leagues. Not many have complained until now as the IPL kept creating cricket’s newest millionaires but the auction-style approach was always going to be questioned at some point.
The signs are there that the IPL has been mulling over a change and it was all but confirmed by its chief operating officer Hemang Amin at the end of the recently concluded two-day action.
“Going forward, the thinking is that we will reduce, maybe not have mega auctions, but consider having a draft system for new players to come in, which acts as feeder system to teams. Hence, IPL Governing Council is thinking on the lines of how to cut down on the big auction and have the continuity with teams,” he had stated.
Continuity with the teams will be important for the eight franchises in the league to create a sustainable fan base over the years. The constant chopping and changing over the past decade has seen players turn out for three to four different franchises in recent years.
To parade the players like cattle in the auction oversteps some ethical boundaries while also hampering continuity across the teams. A draft system is now the need of the hour. The IPL has shown signs that it is willing to evolve and such a move in upcoming editions would be very much welcome.