Former India batsman Mohammad Kaif, who has played under Shane Warne in the first season of India Premier League (IPL), has backed the legendary leg-spinner to change the fortune of Rajasthan Royals in the forthcoming edition of IPL. Warne, who has led Rajasthan to its one all only IPL title back in 2008, will be mentoring the franchise this year.
Kaif feels that the Australian great's presence will motivate and boost the youngsters during the campaign as he knows the trick to bring the best out of a player.
"Shane Warne has magical abilities; he knows the pulse of players and can bring out the best from a batsman, bowler, fielder or a wicketkeeper," Kaif told the news agency IANS.
Kaif, who emerged as the most expensive player for Rajasthan Royals during its first season in 2008, also predicted that Rajasthan will remain in the top four in this year’s IPL. The 37-year-old believes Rajasthan has been producing great talents in cricket for some years now, but the state needs a mentor who can guide the youngsters to flourish in their career.
Kaif also had a word of praise for the emerging talents from Rajasthan including Kamlesh Nagarkoti, who recently grabbed the attention of the cricketing fraternity with his fast and furious bowling in ICC Under-19 World Cup and Khaleel Ahmed, the 20-year old pacer who was sold to Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 3 crores in the IPL auction.
“Rajasthan needs to have someone who can handhold these talents, show right guidance and prove to be a right mentor. When I played under-19 in UP, there were a number of players who came up to polish my talent. Similarly, Rajasthan too needs to have a local hero, who can be an inspiration for youngsters,” he asserted.
When asked about the current trend in IPL where a player gains enormous laurels in one season and disappears in the next season, he said IPL has changed the contours of games.
As per Kaif, the cricket played in IPL is all the more vibrant now. The players need to learn new skills and keep the basics of the game intact.
Elaborating on this question, Kaif said: “Rajasthan has the best team at the moment. During the first season, there were players who were not known by anyone, and this team, picked up, is the best mix of experience and young brigade and hence make a balanced side.”
“After two year, the team will be hungry to give their best and it might repeat the success of the first year,” he concluded.
The much-awaited Indian Premier League season 2018 will commence on April 7 with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on the returning franchise Chennai Super Kings. Rajasthan Royals will start their campaign against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9.
(With IANS Inputs)