Big Bash League 2013: Melbourne Renegades retain Muttiah Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan was the leading bowler for Renegardes last season © Getty Images

Sydney: Jul 23, 2013 

Leading Test wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan on Tuesday re-signed for the Australian Big Bash League with the Melbourne Renegades, who also unveiled Test quicks Peter Siddle and James Pattinson as part of their team.

The 41-year-old Sri Lankan spin maestro was the Renegades’s leading bowler last season in the Twenty20 competition, and will partner leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed, who is currently playing for Australia A.

But Muralitharan, who finished his Test career with a record 800 wickets, will not be facing old rival Shane Warne again. The Australian, who had played with the Melbourne Stars, on Monday announced his retirement from the game.

“Murali is still going strong and was our leading bowler last season with 11 wickets,” said Renegades chief Stuart Coventry.

“When you have someone like him going for less than six runs an over you expect he’ll play a key role again.”

Siddle is set to play for the Renegades following the conclusion of the fifth Ashes Test, but there were question marks over Pattinson, who on Monday was ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes with a stress fracture in his back.

Cricket Australia said he would undergo a rehabilitation programme with the aim to have him back for the Australian summer.

“I want to get back into playing short-form cricket,” said Siddle.

“To have that opportunity again in four over bursts, having a crack and getting the pace up there … I think it’ll be a lot of fun.”

The Big Bash League gets underway in December.