Shane Warne accuses Munaf Patel of fudging his age just to play in the Indian Premier League
Shane Warne has never been too far away when it comes to controversy. A number of off-the-field issues always kept him in the spotlight during his playing days. One of the greatest cricketers of all time and most definitely the best leg spin bowler to have ever graced the beautiful game, Warne has quite often been a sensation in the media, for exploits off the field and on it. Be it his frosty relationship with long-time team-mate Adam Gilchrist, or drunken orgies through the night during the Ashes, Warne has elicited scorn and admiration in equal measure, throughout his career.
Now working as a TV pundit, Warne has dropped a bombshell while covering the England vs Sri Lanka one day international series. During the first ODI of the 5 match series, at Trent Bridge, Warne made the shocking revelation that Indian seamer Munaf Patel had faked his age while playing in the IPL.
Part of India’s World Cup winning squad of 2011, Patel had played under Warne for the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League. When Warne had asked him about his age, Patel had asked him whether he wanted to know his real age or his IPL age. He told Warne subsequently, that his real age was 35, and the age he had used to register for the IPL was forged, and set at 29. An age difference of 6 years, if proved to be true, would imply a serious breach of regulations.
An outright case of forgery can be lodged against Patel, who will then face severe punishment which could include debarment from cricket for life and an added jail term. Patel has represented India in 13 Tests, 70 One Day Internationals and 3 T20 Internationals. He has picked up 35 Test wickets, 86 One Day International wickets and 4 T20 international scalps. Playing in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians, Munaf picked up 73 wickets in 61 matches.
Munaf has not yet commented on this controversy that has engrossed him. If proven true, this would represent another shameful incident to blot Indian cricket. More importantly, it would bring further shame to the 2011 World Cup squad, with another member S. Sreesanth, having faced match fixing charges and a subsequent lengthy ban from all forms of cricket. It remains to be seen whether Warne can substantiate these claims with evidence, which would land Patel in deep trouble for the foreseeable future.