Tuesday June 25, 2019

Sri Lanka's ex-greats humiliated after Aussie cricket debacle

By Our Political Correspondent

Jul 30, 2016 17:33 PM GMT+0530 | 24 Comment(s)


ECONOMYNEXT, Australia's latest spin bowling mentor, former Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan, was sulking Saturday after accusing local cricket authorities of trying to make him the fall guy in case the hosts lost.

 Muralitharan was wiping egg off his face after Australia, the world's number one Test team, lost by 106 to underdog Sri Lanka after 17 years.

During his 10-day stint coaching Australian spinners, Muralitharan also had a spat with Sri Lankan team manager Charith Senanayake over the use of the Pallekele pitch for training.

Ironically, it was at Muralitharan's home ground that his new charges were defeated by a determined Sri Lankan side angered by his "treachery and betrayal" of supporting a side that once called him ''a chucker.''

Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in Test history, last week accused board president Thilanga Sumathipala of knowing nothing about cricket and angrily denounced any suggestion of being "a traitor".

 "If Sri Lanka loses, they (the board) will say it is because of Murali," he said in a recorded statement.

 "They have no right to accuse me of being a traitor. Have they done one hundredth of what I have contributed to cricket in Sri Lanka?

 "This is a political game to cover their shortcomings," he added. "I am being used as a pawn to cover their failings."

Two other former legends, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena who rushed to defend former team-mate Murali and denounce the local board, were also left looking silly after trying to draw parallels.

"Was very disappointed to hear about SLC comments on Murali," Jayawardena said on Twitter. "I was in the same boat a few months ago."
 Jumped in Sangakkara: "Murali is a great son of Sri Lanka and he doesn't have to defend himself. He loves his country. He is free to consult or coach anyone."

Cricket sources said all three legends were supporters of the  "club-over-country" and had tactically retired from national duty only to play for the financially lucrative Indian Premier League or county club cricket.

Sangakkara, who had strongly backed Murali, said the Sri Lankan win was "unbelievable."

"What a win. Unbelievable. Great team work. Patience pays off. Rangana masterclass. Belief is key. Awesome work @OfficialSLC. Very proud," Sangakkara said on twitter reffering to the official Sri Lanka Cricket with whom he had an uneasy relations.

Mahela Jayawardena tweeted before the victory saying: "Just woke up in England to see 7 wickets down. Come on SL. This would be one of the best come back wins." There was no mention of why Mulai magic failed to inspire Australia.

All three former greats may have sullied their reputation over the coaching controversy and hurt their own legacy.

However, Muralitharan announced before the start of the Test match that he will not be present in the Australian dressing room during the game although he was wearing Australian team clothing during the coaching sessions.

SLC chief Sumathipala pointed out the irony of Muralitharan coaching Australia.

"Professionally it is okay for Murali to coach any foreign team, but the irony is that he is supporting Australia which tried to get him out of cricket," Sumathipala said.

He is creating long-term damage for himself among his fans. I feel sad."

During an 18-year Test career, Muralitharan -- who was born with a partially deformed elbow -- was twice cited by Australian umpires for a suspect action but was cleared both times by the game's governing body.

He once refused to tour Australia but has been a regular visitor in recent years as a star of the Big Bash Twenty20 league.

Sri Lankan tweeter Kalana Senaratne may have spoken for all Sri Lankan fans when he said after the match: "It was the (Sri Lankan) team which was too pissed with Murali; Thilanga was just the mouthpiece. But don't tell anyone."
(COLOMBO, July 30, 2016 - UPDATED)


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  1. Nimal August 01, 06:56 AM

    I think Murali has the perfect right to coach anyone. To let bygones be bygones and coach Australia is in the best tradition of cricket.But the problem is there is bad blood between Australia and Sri Lanka.

    Cricket Australia is widely believed to have tried to neutralize Murali to maintain their own leadership. Ross Emerson came out publicly - I think in a British newspaper not sure - to say that he was instructed by aussie cricket board official to no-ball Murali.Murali is an asset.

    His bowling skills should be taught to all aspiring spin bowlers, whether Australian or Sri Lankan.If Murali was hired by Australia to teach spin on a long term basis to their spin bowlers it is perfectly ok. Whether they bowl against Sri Lanka is incidental.

    But in this case Murali was hired by Australia specifically against Sri Lanka. I don't know whether this is 'cricket'.Experts please say whether there are precedents in other countries. Did he teach spin bowling to their spinners or did he teach them other stuff? Like pitch conditions etc?

  2. Angelo August 01, 05:57 AM

    i think there is a big difference between being professional and being a traitor. that needs to be understood first. i think we must be proud of murali.

  3. Maithri Gunaratne August 01, 02:56 AM

    Hello Rajive de Silva, Your memory serves you very well. No one called Dav Whatmore a traitor in 1996 for coaching the Sri Lankan side which won the World Cup against Australia. That is because of several reasons.
    A) Dav Whatmore was born a Sri Lankan and it was much later he acquired Australian citizenship.
    B) He started coaching Sri Lanka to meet all other nations, and not just against Australia. It was a coincidence that Australia entered the finals, something he could not have known when taking on the Sri Lanka coaching job, unlike Mr, Murali who took on a specific job of coaching Australians against his own country Sri Lanka .

    That too just for the Sri Lanka tour (Three Tests). In other words, they were paying him to learn the inside details of the Sri Lankan side and evaluate their thought processes.

    There is no comparison between Whatmore (a gentleman) and Murali who has a great talent for selling his motherland for a few pieces of silver.

    However, Ravi Karunanayake would argue that any foreign exchange, earned by hook or by crook, is good as long as it is brought into Sri Lanka Well done Economynext for exposing these scoundrels.Maithri Gunaratne

  4. Stringhopper August 01, 01:30 AM

    To have a trophy named after a player, soon after retirement, is a rate honor. Since 2008 Sri Lanka and Australia test series are played for a trophy named after two top players of the modern game from these countries. Its called the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy.

    Id be curious to see if Shane Warne would accept a 10 day bowling consultancy for Sri Lanka on the eve of the Warne-Murali trophys next playing in 2018 in Australia.

  5. Kalumburu August 01, 12:34 PM

    Dear Mr Rajive De Silva

    The reason why no Australian called Whatmore, Bayliss, Dyson, Moody, Law etc were not called traitors is because they understand the nature of professional sports. Additionally, the country was proud to showcases their exports. You see most of Sri Lanka still operate through a tribal mentality.

    They are revengeful and petty minded because more often than not uneducated enough to see things through broad minds. You see nobody has bothered to commend Murali for his highly developed mind. He forgave the individuals who caused him a great deal of stress a very long time ago. He openly said a few years ago that if he carried resentment to his grave the loser would have been him. His mind is almost akin to Mandella in that respect.

    He has shown that he is truly superior to most if not all not only in his bowling skills but in his personal attitudes.In writing and protesting in this disgusting manner only showcases the level of ignorance we hold in this country. To this end the gutter journalism we have in this country has only compounded to this discussion.

    What is even more strange in all of this is that Sri Lanka boast about Buddhism with all its rituals and then harbours such feelings when letting go of aversion and hatred is so fundamental to Buddhist practice. Murali has and I think he is a Hindu. How laughable is that ...

  6. Rajive de Silva August 01, 10:24 AM

    In 1996, when Sri Lanka beat Australia to win the world cup, who coached Sri Lanka team ? It was Dave Whatmore, a former Australian test player. I cannot remember any Australian calling him a traitor.

  7. Hemal Gunasekera August 01, 09:14 AM

    Dear kottu. you are as mixed up as a kottu made with three-days-old left over curries. This is not a question of a Sri Lankan players training any other team. It is the very side which wanted to end his cricket career. Perhaps you didn't grasp the gravity and the irony of that. Look at what happened with an objective mind. remove your MR glasses.

    As much as we all like to enjoy cricket for the sake and spirit of the sport, do the cricketers always play to win. I am sure a lot of Sri Lankan greats are also guilty of match / spot fixing, but just that they have not been caught. So even our greats are not exactly lilly white. I remember Aravinda de Silva once admitting getting money from a bokkie to give a weather report There have been allegations against even our cricket officials and umpires so lets be objective.

    The game of cricket is as bad or even worse than the political cess pool you describe. Just that in the cricket cess pool, there are many dark secrets that we don't know.But one thing comes out very clearly, that is three of our great players have seriously damaged their reputation. Is that what some people call legacy?

  8. kottu July 31, 10:07 AM

    These people like Sira, Sirisumana are a brand that had much market during MR days and the same holds true for gutter political correspondents of Economynext who have no 'quality' education. Sri Lankans should be more 'wordly' and like someone said below there are multitudes of players who coach other nations. Sr Lanka should be and most right thinking people are proud of ex-greats who share their skills and also garner valuable backroom knowledge by consulting with other teams. SL will be richer for the knowledge sharing that takes place. Cricket is played by those in the middle and not the political minded sundry commentators. Enjoy the sport regardless of the player and applaud the skill, talent and effort regardless of the side. That's the spirit of sportsmanship. Sadly lacking in the crazy Sri Lankan political cesspit. As cesspits go this article gets the prize for the biggest lump

  9. Milroy Dia July 31, 03:55 AM

    Simply put, three of our heroes, mahela, Sanga and Murali, have damaged their legacy. They will still have a strong following no doubt, but after years of solid effort, the trio have added a bit of dung into the pot of milk.... Feel sorry for them. See how capitalism can corrupt cricketers.

  10. Sirisumana Dissanayake July 31, 02:13 AM

    I agree with the news article. full marks to the website for having the courage despite att the (popular) misconceptions about the so called greats.

  11. peiris July 31, 01:44 AM

    Thank you Murali for helping Australia to chuck instead of bowling. Keep up the good work Traitor?

  12. Stanley Wanigasekera July 31, 12:48 PM

    Thank you for this timely report. I hope it will lead to a debate on how money has corrupted our legends. The rot set in after 1996 when Sri Lanka won the World Cup and suddenly there was too much money at stake.

    Even the so called great players have been corrupted by cash. People like the great Gamini Dissanayake worked to get Test status for Sri Lanka without taking a cent from the cricket board.

    The players did their best without getting top dollar, duty free limos or any other tax break. Those were the good old days and all cricketers played to win. These days you wonder if those values are still upheld.

  13. Jay July 31, 08:25 AM

    SLC board comprises of jokers who have never made headlines for SL cricket. Elected due money and power.Murali's is irrelevant here. He did a job and got paid for his services. The match was won as a result of Kusal's century. Not because SLC bosses luck or efficiency.

  14. Fan G July 31, 07:40 AM

    This is obvious. Article is written by a so called By Our Political Correspondent. Clearly a dirty ... licking of Thilanga by a paid media dog.

  15. Sisira July 31, 06:40 AM

    Why does Murali wants to train Aussie team...? The very same people who tried to finish his Cricket...?

    He once said he has money to feed his family..why suddend chnage of heart to help Aussies...?.

    Had he helped any other country for money or not, we can understand it. But helping Australia cannot be understood.

    Good luck Murali, let see how Australia is going to look after him in the future. We are the Sri Lakans who helped him in difficult times, Not Aussies.

  16. Ronal Bastianas July 31, 06:45 AM

    How can Murali be egg faced. He consulted Australia for 10 days its like says if Australia wins the next couple of matches then Thilanga Sumathipala will be egg faced.....get the point

  17. HITWICKET July 31, 06:14 AM

    The SLC is a circus with jokers and jugglers.... Hire some professional aerobats to fill the missing companions.

  18. Eds July 31, 05:55 AM

    MJ and KS have always adopted the club over country attitude. Remember the English tour of 2007/8? Shame on you Murali.

  19. Kalumburu July 31, 05:39 AM

    A very poor article that only humiliates the level of intelligence of the people including the media. If the current team cannot win games with their skill nobody is to be blamed. When Dyson, Law, etc coached SL against Australia the people of Australia did not chastise them. Instead they were proud that Australia could export such expertise. In fact more of it was encouraged. When David Saker coached England to an Ashes victory nobody came up with ridiculous tribal views like this. Get some educated people to run the show all around .

  20. gon July 31, 03:50 AM

    Don't talk nonsense editor. No one believed Sri Lanka would win. It is a miracle. It is due to Kusal Mendis we won. Herath is also a consistent bowler from long time. In case of Murali, I remember sometimes Sri Lanka hired the most respected coaches but failed due to lack of good cricketers.

  21. Sirisumana Dissanayake July 30, 10:30 AM

    My thoughts exactly.

  22. Shevan July 30, 10:34 AM

    Think your context of the entire article is totally incorrect. I honestly don't think Murali, Sanga or Mahela are anti Sri Lanka Cricket at any point. However, they are professionals in their skill and have made decisions to benefit them after they have fulfilled many years of loyal service to the country.

    Murali didn't get 800 test wickets by accident. Kumar didn't score 12,000 test runs for the country by accident. I am sure Murali did the consulting job to train their spinners as a professional, but he will always continue to support and cheer for team Sri Lanka.

  23. kottu July 30, 09:11 AM

    Oh come on Editor. Is this a paid hit job for Thilanga? Some of your articles show perceived bias and opinion out of line with general public. Now question retirement timing? Cheap and below the belt. Ranil is right SL journos are corrupt bunch of swine.

  24. Dickie Bird July 30, 07:57 AM

    What had SLC done for Murali when his career was in the balance with chucking controversy?I say nothing, except for one Sri Lanka.......

    Today, nobody knows him even Murali.

    These cardboard patriots accusing Murali including that Sumathipala are a bunch of jokers with personal agendas not to serve cricket.

    I say this in no uncertain terms including to Murali, the media, go read the report on this chucking saga filed in the Ergonomic Journal in London and findout who saved Murali's carreer?

    Please refrain from writting bunkun that Murali is a consultant for Aussies ect., Write what is important having read the aforesaid report filed in London.You guys are all jokers including Murali the media.

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