If Shane Warne had been a movie star, he’d be the lead protagonist of a remake of The Last Waltz that would probably be playing at this theatre called IPL.
He’s got all that it takes – fame, charisma, talent, a successful career and even that bad-boy image they so love.
There’s one hitch though. If his ‘Last Waltz’ has to become a hit here, he’ll have to bring out all that’s there in his box full of magic.
If he fails even once, the remake of a movie that was a 2008 blockbuster will hardly have takers anymore. Warne and his bunch can take the flight back home.
Knowing this, Team Jaipur arrived from Bloemfontein to Durban, and true to his superstar image, Warne’s checking out from the airport to checking in at the team hotel invited nothing but absolute fan frenzy.
Durban’s cricket fans know what’s playing at the Kingsmead Park on Wednesday and somehow, it seems, they also have a gut feeling that ‘The Last Waltz’ will be entertaining.
The “Warnie” chants went on as the Jaipur squad left the hotel for a short but tedious net session at the stadium. From the moment they arrived there till the time they left, every outsider – be it a fan or journalist or even curious bystanders – were asked to stay away from the practice area. You couldn’t watch what was going on nor speak to anyone. “Can you keep off this area please?”
Darren Barry and Jeremy Snape, Warne’s coaching lieutenants, weren’t accessible either. “It’s going to be tough mate,” they said when asked to speak on Wednesday’s game.
Warne hardly stayed away from his players. The Aussie has shortlisted the four overseas players he’s going to have in the side, or so it seemed when he spent the afternoon alongside Graeme Smith, Johan Botha and Lee Carseldine. Rob Quiney, who has been opening for Jaipur, might just get some rest and make way for Swapnil Asnodkar once again.
Warne, it also seems, has little choice but to repose all his faith on the same young Indian bunch that did him proud last season. Therefore, Asnodkar opens with Smith, whose form has been a worry for Warne, while Abhishek Raut, Naman Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja will make the middle-order alongside Botha and Carseldine.