The legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan has been associated with former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly’s pet project ‘Vision 2020’ programme with an aim to make the state a supply line of national players. Former Pakistani great Waqar Younis was also involved in this project.
Alongside Murali, former Indian great VVS Laxman joined the programme and continues to do his duty.
Over the last two days at the ground of Jadavpur University, Saltlake Campus, here, Murali was busy guiding the young spinners-keeping a close eye to spot talented spinners who can play for Bengal and represent India later.
The Vision 2020 programme, which of late has received funding from an insurance company, this year involved Bengal’s under 19 and under 23 players who honed their skills under expert guidance.
In conversation with Pradesh 18, Muralitharan shared his thoughts about his successful coaching stint with recent Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Sunrisers Hyderabad, and much more.
He was asked about young Bangladesh bowler Mustafizur Rahman, he said: “What can I say about him! He is a special talent and needs to be groomed well. For that, he needs to play more overseas tournaments. He is a big talent for world cricket.’’
At the same time, he is wondered about Virat Kohli.
“Virat Kohli is in the middle of a dream form, but he has been performing like this for the last two years – not only in the IPL but also international cricket. He is making runs for India and also for his (IPL) franchise. Nobody can stop him at the moment. Hope he continues that way.”
He was also asked about his own country Sri Lanka’s transition phase. The island has been going through difficult times after the retirement of stars like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene.
Muralitharan said, “Sri Lanka is a young side now. The players need time to be consistent in international cricket. I am not worried about Sri Lanka’s current form as I feel that the team is going through a transition phase. Lots of players who played over the last two decades have now retired, so we need to give them (youngsters) time. It happens with every team. It’s a difficult patch but they will come back.”
Talking about the Vision 2020 the off-spinner said that it is not only about producing spinners but also about producing batsmen. “Vision 2020 is not only about spin-bowling training. It’s all about cricket. VVS, TA Sekhar and I are doing the coaching part. We had a good session. All young players are coming into this camp. My aim is to pick good spinners. On the other side, Laxman is in search for good batsman for Kolkata and for India as well. So we are trying hard and giving our knowledge to them. Let’s see how they take that knowledge. If they work hard, then they can be good cricketers. We are trying to set up a bank. Some really good players have come up. We have some very good and experienced coaches who will help to bring up new cricketers. Until now we have achieved a lot. Boys are doing good but we have to go a long way because this programme is only a few years old.”