NEW DELHI: A "shocked and devastated" Rajasthan Royals on Saturday paid glowing tributes to late Shane Warne, saying the Australian spin legend had shaped the values of the franchise and impacted the careers of many players during his stint as captain in the Indian Premier League.
Warne played 55 matches for Rajasthan Royals between 2008 and 2011.
He led the side to the IPL title in the inaugural edition in 2008.
That triumph remains RR's only IPL title till date.
He was instrumental in grooming a host of young Indian cricketers who were part of the Royals' squad during that period.
"Everyone associated with the Rajasthan Royals is still shocked and devastated.
Our first thoughts are for his family, who he cherished so dearly.
We will ensure that he is never forgotten and that his millions of fans in India get an opportunity to pay their respects," the Royals' Lead Owner Manoj Badale said in a release.
"Shane (Warne) was the first Royal. Our first captain. Our first family member. And Our first champion. He provided so many memories on and off the pitch. He shaped the values of the RR franchise. He co-created the Royals. And he helped transform the story of the Indian Premier League (IPL)."
Warne, who redefined the art of spin bowling to become one of the greatest in international cricket, died of a suspected heart attack in Thailand on Friday.
He was 52 and is survived by two daughters and a son.
"He (Warne) positively impacted the careers of so many, launching Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane, re-energising the careers of Shane Watson and Jos Buttler, working with Rahul Dravid and Graeme Smith, and helping so many young cricketers play at, and often, above their potential. This was his unique 'gift'," Badale said.
"He leaves an astonishing legacy. Wonderful memories shared with family and friends, who have been so impacted by him. A wonderful charitable foundation that has changed the lives of thousands of kids." Badale said Warne's humour and passion for life had inspired one and all.
"And the title of 'the greatest ever leg-spinner' in the second most popular sport in the world. He inspired us all with his humour and passion for life.
"He was a legend in cricket. A legend in India. A legend across the world. But most of all, he was a kind, generous, loyal and inspirational friend.We will miss him every day."
An iconic name in international cricket, Warne, since making his debut in 1992, played 145 Tests for Australia, picking up 708 wickets with his leg-spin.
In his 194 ODI appearances, Warne snared 293 scalps.
He immortalised himself with the 'ball of the century' in 1993 when as a 24-year-old, he deceived Mike Gatting at Old Trafford with a delivery that landed on the leg stump and, as the Englishman tried to defend, turned viciously to clip his off bail.
Gatting was left in disbelief by the big leg break, a craft that was dying before Warne revived it with his guile.