Rajasthan Royals’ stupendous underdog to title-winner performance in the inaugural Indian Premier League has put the Jaipur-based team in line for being nominated as world team of the year 2008 at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
Led by Australian leg-spin legend Shane Warne, the Royals began as underdogs but ran away with the top prize in the hugely-successful inaugural IPL Twenty20 tournament last May.
Laureus Awards organisers mentioned the Jaipur-based side in a long list of contenders for nomination in the world team of the year category.
“Captained and coached by Australian spin legend Shane Warne, Rajasthan Royals cricket team won the inaugural Indian Premier League, despite being regarded by some as one of the weaker teams in the league,” the Award organisers said.
A panel of leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from more than 120 countries vote to create a list of six nominations in each category, including sportsman, sportswoman, team, breakthrough and comeback of the year.
The nominees, venue and date for 2009 Laureus World Sports Awards will be announced on April 16.
The Laureus World Sports Academy, comprising 46 sporting greats including former Australia captain Steve Waugh and former Indian captain Kapil Dev, will select the winners by secret ballot.
Also among possible nominees is South Africa’s cricket team which will hope to follow their rugby counterparts, who won last year’s team award, after becoming the first side in 16 years to win a Test series in Australia.
Jamaica’s Olympic sprint team, including 100 metres and 200m champion and world record holder Usain Bolt.
The highly successful British cycling team who won eight gold, four silver and two bronze medals in Beijing are strong contenders, as are Spain’s European Championship-winning soccer team.
Manchester United were also tipped for honours after winning their third Champions League title and the English Premier League last season.