IPL 2018: The Indian Premier League is less than eight days away and teams have started gearing up for the T20 juggernaut. The champions of the first IPL, Rajasthan Royals are making their comeback after a two-year ban. With Australian batsman Steve Smith banned for a year from both International and domestic cricket, Ajinkya Rahane will be leading the side. They will be playing Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9 at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad. With the return of Shane Warne to Rajasthan Royals as its mentor, the team is expected to do what the Blues did in their first season. Warne is the only person left who was part of the first IPL winning Rajasthan Royals final match squad. Wonder what others are doing? Check out:
Kamran Akmal (wk): The Pakistan wicketkeeper played six matches in the tournament, including the final of the tournament against the CSK. He took two catches in the first innings, however, was run out for six runs during Royals’ chase. The Royals went on to win the tournament after a thrilling finish. He did not play in the IPL after that as Pakistani players were banned after the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was dropped from Pakistan’s national side and was last seen playing in Pakistan Super League where he finished as the leading run-scorer.
Shane Watson: Watson was the second highest run-getter for Rajasthan Royals after Yusuf Pathan, and was adjudged the player of the tournament. He scored 472 runs and took 17 wickets throughout the tournament. In 2018 IPL, he will be playing for Chennai Super Kings, his opponent in the first IPL final.
Yusuf Pathan: The highest run-getter for RR in IPL 2008, Pathan took three wickets in the finals and played a crucial 56-run inning. Yusuf Pathan went on to become one of the most destructive batsmen in IPL, winning two titles with KKR. In 2018, he will be playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad who bought him for Rs 1.90 crore.
Mohammad Kaif: Regarded as one of the best fielders in the Indian cricket team owing to his great athletic and throwing skills, Kaif played for RR in 2008. In February 2017, Gujarat Lions named Kaif assistant coach of Brad Hodge for 2017 Indian Premier League. He is now a commentator and expert for Star Sports.
Niraj Patel: In 2008, Niraj got to play with the likes of Shane Warne and Shane Watson when he was signed on by the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. He scored a nerveless 29-ball 40 to clinch a last-ball win against Mumbai in Rajasthan’s penultimate league game. He remained a prolific scorer in domestic cricket in the coming years but failed to replicate his performance in the IPL.
Swapnil Asnodkar: One of the biggest findings of the opening season of IPL, he formed a strong opening partnership with South African captain Graeme Smith. By the end of the tournament, they had scored 418 runs together at an average of 59.71 – the highest of the tournament. Sadly, he could not do much in the finals contributing 28 runs to the team’s total. Asnodkar turned out to be a one-season wonder. He was unsold in 2018 IPL auctions and continues to represent Goa in domestic cricket.
Ravindra Jadeja: Jadeja’s rise in international cricket is often credited to MS Dhoni’s undying support but it was actually the IPL that found the Saurashtra boy – or rather the legendary Shane Warne, to be precise. As captain of the Rajasthan franchise, the Australian leg-spinner spotted Jadeja’s prowess and in 2008-09 had said that this ‘Rockstar’ would go places. Warnie was not wrong and Jaddu is one of the best all-rounder in cricket and will be playing for CSK this year.
Shane Warne (c): Shane Warne was the captain and coach and coach of RR for IPL 2008 and now has returned to the side as the mentor. He led his team to victory against the Chennai Super Kings in a cliffhanger of a final match on 1 June 2008. He was bought for US$450,000.
Sohail Tanvir: The purple cap winner of 2008 IPL, Tanvir took whopping 22 wickets in 11 matches. However, he was quite expensive in the finals giving away 40 runs in four overs and picked up just one wicket. Tanvir was part of the PSL franchise Multan Sultans this year.
Munaf Patel: Patel took 14 wickets in 15 matches in IPL 2008. Although he could not get any wicket in the finals, Patel remained with the franchise for three seasons. Patel played an important role in India’s 2011 ICC World Cup win but was dropped from the national team after then. Munaf Patel went unsold in IPL auction 2018.
Siddharth Trivedi: A right-arm medium pace bowler, Trivedi was an important part of Rajasthan Royals under Shane Warne. Trivedi often changed the course of the game with his splendid spells, establishing him as a firm fan favourite. In 2013, Trivedi was banned for 1 year after revealed that he was approached by the bookies. His last domestic game for Saurashtra came in 2015.