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Murali saddened by Lanka’s plight

DTNext 2019-02-10 00:00:00

Among the most humdrum of sporting truisms that we must have become weary of getting drilled into our ears is the phrase, ‘All records are meant to be broken’.

Muttiah Muralitharan (centre) during an event in Chennai on Saturday Chennai: Among the most humdrum of sporting truisms that we must have become weary of getting drilled into our ears is the phrase, ‘All records are meant to be broken’.
However, if there is one custodian of a treasured record who is exempt, at least for the foreseeable future or perhaps even for keeps, from the above gospel truth, it is Muttiah Muralitharan. His record tally of 800 wickets in Tests may well stand the test of time akin to Sir Don Bradman’s batting average of 99.94. A World Cup winner with Sri Lanka in 1996, Muralitharan, who was in the city on Saturday, said he is saddened by the plight of the current Sri Lankan team. The 46-year-old also ruled out taking up any coaching assignment with the Island Nation.
Excerpts:On the decline of Sri Lanka cricket:
Sri Lanka, of late, hasn’t produced enough talent. In the last three to four years the talent is lacking. Even when the talent is spotted, they don’t know how to play. This decline saddens me. For a team that has reached the World Cup final three times and has a proud cricketing culture it is a worrying sign. Coaches don’t make cricketers. Coaches can only tell you the basics. It then boils down to the individual’s effort and desire to succeed. In my playing days, money wasn’t the criterion. In 90s there wasn’t much money. Our passion was to take wickets and score runs. That passion has changed a bit now. If players are in pursuit of money, the standard of cricket goes down.
On whether he will take up a coaching role to revive Sri Lanka:
I’ve not been associated with Sri Lankan cricket ever since I retired. I don’t think I have the time to take on the job of a consultant or a mentor on a full-time basis. I’m happy being involved with IPL and sharing my knowledge. After playing cricket at the highest level for two decades, I want to spend time with my family and I have other commitments as well.
On India’s wrist spin duo of Kuldeep and Chahal:
India has got two good wrist spinners right now and the Indian selectors are also confident of their ability based on their impressive performance. But you can’t say that finger spinners are on the wane. There are hardly any wrist spinners in other countries. How good Kuldeep and Chahal will be at the World Cup will depend on the conditions. England pitches in May and June have traditionally assisted swing.
On mentoring Rashid Khan in IPL:
I didn’t mentor Rashid. He is a different kind of bowler to what I was. He is quick and that’s why it’s easy to deceive batsmen in the shorter formats. It’s hard to replicate that in the longer format. I do give him a few tips. We hardly get any time to interact in the nets during IPL because of the schedule. He understands his game well and he became a champion before I met him.
Ferit Cricket Bash to start in July
Ferit Cricket Bash, an amateur cricket league, will be held in July and August 2019. Former and current international players such as Muttiah Muralitharan, Chris Gayle, Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar have been roped in as mentors. Former Ranji Trophy cricketers will oversee the trial across various cities in India. Thousands of participants are expected to attend the selection process, which will involve multiple sessions. All candidates who are 15 years or above are eligible to register for phase one, which is already underway in a few cities. 14 candidates will be shortlisted from each centre and they will get to represent their city in the final phase. 16 teams will vie for the title and each of the players who make it to those squads will receive a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh. The winning team will be rewarded with Rs 31 lakh while the runner-up will take home Rs 21 lakh. The victor will also get a chance to compete in a local club tournament in Australia. The format of matches varies from the traditional style, with teams playing 15 overs each. The colours of the ball will also be different, declared the league’s founders. “Not everyone who loves to play cricket gets to represent their State or their country. This is a good platform for them to realise their dream,” said Muralitharan, one of the league’s mentors.