Sunday, April 12, 2009



A 'Wild Thing' or 'Tornado' will be let loose by defending champions Rajasthan Royals on their oppositions in the second edition of Indian Premier League on the bouncy South African pitches.

Captain-coach Shane Warne has picked greenhorn pacer Kareem Khan, an 18-year-old lad from Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh), and will nickname him a 'Wild Thing' or 'Tornado' to specify his role in the team as has been a practice since last year.

Kareem has not played first class cricket but was selected to the Royals team after he impressed Director of Coaching Dareen Berry in a Mumbai Twenty20 tournament.

"We've got one young player who's going to be very interesting. We're tossing up now what his nickname is going to be -- 'Wild Thing' or 'Tornado', something like that. Kamran Khan is a young kid, a left-armer, a slinger, he's a little guy but he bowls 140 plus," Warne told Sunday Times.

"The most important thing is to let the players know what their role is, what they are expected to do. That's where we had an advantage last year. We gave everyone a role and nickname. Graeme Smith was 'Rock at the top'. He batted with Swapnil Asnodkar who was the 'Goa Cannon' -- go and hit them.

"Another to look out for is Ravindra Jadeja. He played last year, did enough, now have a year of experience. There's Yusuf Pathan. He was dynamite last year, just destroys medium pace and spin bowling. He and Andrew Symonds are two of the cleanest hitters I've ever seen," he said.

Warne rued the absence of Pakistani pacer Sohail Tanvir, the leading wicket-taker last year, but hopes all-rounder Shane Watson will be availble later in the tournament.

"They're big losses. I think Shane misses the first nine games playing for Australia so he'll be available for last five and hopefully the finals. Sohail was sensational last

year, taking early wickets and bowling at the end. It's hard to replace those guys," he said.

Warne, however, feels the presence of South African captain Graeme Smith at his home grounds will be a big boost.

"He (Smith) is important for a lot of reasons. He's another captain to bounce ideas off. When I'm bowling, he keeps an eye on the field. When I'm talking to a bowler he's making sure the best fielders are in the right spots.

"I think he enjoys the IPL as well, just having the opportunity and the freedom to go out and bat without the responsibility of anything else. For us, being in South Africa and having the captain of South Africa in our side is a huge advantage," he said.

The retired spin great had not changed his views on the necessity of a coach at the top level and said he was more of a captain in Rajasthan Royals.

"The only reason I'm coach is because Royals don't really have a coach. I'm just the captain, really. I've got two assistants who do a good job in Darren Berry and Jeremy Snape."

"Darren looks after practice while I get around and speak to individuals and Snapey floats around, helps guys prepare and does some one-on-one stuff. Captains should always run the cricket. At international level I don t think you need a coach. At domestic level you need a coach."

He was booed by the crowd every time he played in South Africa, but Warne said he expects support this time.

"I've got special memories of playing in South Africa, especially in Cape Town. I played my 100th Test here, which was an amazing match. I've always enjoyed playing here. The public have booed me most of the time but hopefully playing with the Rajasthan Royals they'll get behind me.

"Hopefully when I bowl I'll get a clap, or a cheer or whistle. It's disappointing not to have the IPL in India because they love their cricket over there, with 60-70000 people at every game. But they're pretty vocal over here, they love their cricket. Having Graeme and Morne Morkel in the side will help. It's surprised me how many people watched the IPL over here and how many people liked the Royals."

He has no regrets about not captaining Australia.

"I don't have regrets about anything. I never chased the captaincy. If I'd had the opportunity it would have been great but I don't look back and think about it. I've captained the Royals, Hampshire, Victoria and Australia in one-day matches. People can see the way I captain. I enjoy being captain and it brings out the best in me."

1 comment:

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