JAIPUR : Legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne was on Tuesday named the mentor of Rajasthan Royals for the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) which will see the western outfit make a comeback after a two-year ban. The 48-year-old, who was Rajasthan's captain-cum-coach during their sensational title win in the 2008 inaugural edition, confessed that the Jaipur franchise had always been close to his heart.
"I am very happy and excited to be back with the Rajasthan Royals who I believe hold 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 said.
"We have a strong, young and energetic bunch of boys and I am looking forward to work with them."
The Australian led the Royals for three seasons from 2008-11 during which he played 52 games and picked 56 wickets.
Royals also named former Mumbai batsman Zubin Barucha as their head of cricket. He was a part of the franchise in 2008 as well.
"We have always looked to groom talent at Rajasthan Royals and it will be no different this time," Barucha said.
Franchise co-owner Manoj Badale said: "We welcome back Shane Warne as Rajasthan Royals mentor. He is a legend of the game and what he has achieved in Rajasthan Royals is unmatchable
"Bringing back Shane Warne is also a way to 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.
"Zubin has also contributed immensely to the growth of the team and we are happy to have both back on board. We are excited and looking forward to a successful comeback."