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Warne calls for IPL to be shortened

Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne on Saturday suggested the Indian Premier League tournament be shortened to a month in the coming years.

"The IPL should be played for four weeks in April and the final on May 1. The ICC should make sure there is no international cricket during the period and all the international players should be available for the IPL," he said in Mumbai.

The current Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament is spread over 44 days between April 18 to June 1 with every team playing a minimum of 14 games on a home and away basis. Many believe the tournament is too long and called for a reduction in the number of matches, which was also agreed to by Warne.

The former Australia leg-spinner also came down heavily on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for not letting their players take part in the IPL this year.

"I think the ECB has been very silly. They are not realising the broader picture of the IPL," Warne said.

The 38-year-old coach and captain of the team revealed the secret behind Rajasthan Royal's brilliant run in the tournament. Having just four days with the squad before the start of the IPL, Warne said he along with performance coach Jeremy Snape and director of coaching Darren Berry worked day and night to get an idea of what his players were capable of.

"When we reached here we wanted a background of all the players through the local coaches which unfortunately we didn't get. We played two practice games straight away and watched every player in detail as to how they approached the game, their shot making, running between the wickets, fitness and other aspects," he said.

And after such a fine showing by all the youngsters, Warne is all praise for them.

"The young guys are not scared of reputations, whether it is [Mohammad] Asif or [Glenn] McGrath. They will look to smack them out of the ground. These young guys are making me feel young. Watching the young guys taking on the best in the world and also do well makes me feel good," he said.

"Ravindra Jadeja is a rockstar. He will be the next superstar for India. Asnodkar is a terrific shot maker. Yusuf Pathan is finally fulfilling his potential and he has been rewarded with a place in the Indian ODI side. It makes me proud as the captain of the Royals," the Aussie added.

Warne said every member of the team -- whether it is the youngsters or senior international players -- get equal treatment and that has been important in helping the team bind as a unit.

"Everyone is equal. There is no superstar treatment for anyone. If [Shane] Watson is late, he will be spoken to and the same for Swapnil [Asnodkar]. All are equal in our team," he said.

Despite his team crushing all the opponents and storming into the finals, the Aussie legend reveals there is still more to do. "I am not satisfied yet. I want to see them become the first team to win the IPL."

Warne also said he is keen to open a spin academy in India on the lines of the MRF Pace Academy that grooms young fast bowlers.

"I am impressed with Dennis Lillee and the MRF Pace Academy. They have done a good job and helped develop fast bowlers in India. I am looking to set up same sort of spin academy to help young spinners. I am impressed with the likes of Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla and hope to help them in the future," the veteran said.

Contradicting reports that he is interested in making a comeback to international, Warne said: "I am happily retired and enjoying playing in the IPL. I am happy spending time with my kids. I am also doing business and playing more poker tournaments. I played in an era of Australian cricket when we were highly successful. I enjoyed my time in international cricket and now I am enjoying playing in the IPL."

source - rediff.com
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