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Warne returns to Rajasthan for IPL

Aussie spin legend back with franchise he captain-coached to be IPL's first champions as team mentor

Australia leg-spin legend Shane Warne has confirmed he will return to the IPL a decade after he took the Rajasthan Royals to the title, this time as the team mentor.

Warne is a fan favourite in Jaipur after playing the role of captain and coach for the Royals in the Twenty20 league's inaugural season as they won the maiden championship, with fellow Australian Shane Watson named the player of the tournament.

Warne played four seasons with Rajasthan, retiring from the IPL after the 2011 season, but now returns as the franchise comes back from a two-year exile imposed after the spot-fixing scandal in 2013.

Warne will mentor a squad featuring three Australians in national captain Steve Smith, Hobart Hurricanes wrist-spinning allrounder D'Arcy Short and seam bowler Ben Laughlin, who won this summer's BBL title with the Adelaide Strikers.

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The squad also includes controversial England allrounder Ben Stokes, plus England's Jos Buttler, as well as Jofra Archer, the Barbados-born fast bowler who shot to fame in BBL|07 with Hobart.

"I'll be joining Rajasthan Royals in the IPL in 2018 as team mentor," Warne announced on a video posted on his Instagram page.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity I've been given to be team mentor for the Royals, I'm really looking forward to it and being back involved. I've had so many wonderful memories, especially from 2008 when we won that inaugural year."

Warne will join fellow Australia legend Ricky Ponting in an IPL leadership role this season. Ponting, who was inducted into Australian Cricket's Hall of Fame by Warne at the Allan Border Medal evening this week, will be head coach of the Delhi Daredevils. 

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Australia's leading Test wicket-taker with 708 scalps and one of the greatest to ever play the game, Warne rates his IPL victory highly amongst his career accolades.

"Out of everything I've achieved with the Australian Cricket team and personally too, winning the #IPL as Capt/Coach with the squad we had in the first ever year in 2008 was so very special and amazing to all of us who were involved," Warne wrote on Twitter.

He added he was looking forward to working with the Rajasthan squad he tipped to "achieve some special things".

"The guys have done a wonderful job putting this squad together," Warne said in his Instagram video.

"There's so many talented Indian players, international players, senior players, young junior players. It is a wonderful squad and I think it can achieve some special things in 2018."