Muttiah Muralitharan © Getty Images
Jun 18, 2014
Muttaih Muralitharan, the game’s highest wicket-taker has been roped in by Cricket Australia (CA) as a spin consultant in what is a dramatic move for the men from Down Under. Muralitharan has already joined the Australian camp and will be working closely with their off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Preparations are in full swing for their battle against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With Australia’s well documented struggles failing them regularly in subcontinent wickets, Australia have pulled of a major coup to get the spin wizard. Saeed Ajmal’s ‘doosra’ is expected to be a key topic of discussion, read a report from cricket.com.au.
“I’m very much excited; I know the Australian team is a very good side, but hopefully I can have a little bit of input to help them do well in the series against Pakistan,” Muralidaran said.
“Those conditions might help spinners and I know a few tricks that might help them on what to do as I have played a lot of matches in those conditions in the UAE and hopefully I can help them a little bit.”
Muralitharan has had a rather difficult relationship in the past and many former players have questioned the legality of his bowling action. Current coach Darren Lehmann was even found guilty of allegedly racially abusing the spinner, for which he was handed a ban during his playing days.
When asked about Nathan Lyon and Saeed Ajmal, two exemplary current spinners, he said, “Ajmal is a difficult customer for all the best batsmen in the world, but he bowls a little bit similar to me so perhaps if I can bowl to the Australian batsman it might help a little bit and give them some tips,” Muralidaran said.
“Nathan Lyon has been bowling brilliantly but hopefully I can help him a little bit on how to bowl in these subcontinent conditions, on how to use the conditions and how to set up the field; I have bowled to most of the Pakistani batsman in the past so hopefully I can help a bit.”
A beaming Lehmann was elated to have Murali overseeing Australia’s camp that will tour Pakistan. “He’s the highest wicket-taker of all time in Test cricket, an off-spinner, obviously we’re going to face someone like that over there (in the UAE) with Ajmal,” Lehmann said.
“It gives our batters a real chance to experience those sort of conditions, how to play that type of bowling with Murali coming on board but also to help Nathan develop his skills.
“We’re really excited to have him (and) I know he’s excited, so I’m looking forward to working with him. It’ll be great experience for him but also for the team.”