Muttiah Muralitharan Blames the Politicians for Ruining Cricket in Sri Lanka
All time highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, Muttiah Muralitharan has slammed the politicians in the country for the current state of the game.
Once a dominant force in the world of cricket, Sri Lankan cricket is at an all time low, having lost 23 One-day Internationals out of 29 matches in the limited overs format they played in 2017.
The Sri Lankan team has been on a decline since the retirement of their batting greats Mahela Jayawardne, Kumar Sangakarra and Tilekaratne Dilshan respectively.
They have failed to have some strength in their batting line up and have also failed to have a constant team combination.
The selection panel of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has had a problem while settling with the team combination in the recent time.
Sri Lanka has had five captains in the limited-overs format i.e. Angelo Matthews, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera in the past 12 months.
Adding to the miseries, the spin wizard Muralitharan has said that the interference of the politicians who have little or no knowledge of the game are the main reason behind the current state of cricket in their country.
In an exclusive interview with Economic Times, Muttiah Muralitharan spoke his heart about what is wrong with the game in Sri Lanka.
What is wrong with Sri Lanka cricket?
“From the days of Sanath Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana, Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga to today, it has undergone a sea change. Don’t go so far back. In 2014, we won the World T20 beating India in the final in Dhaka and in 2011 we made the final of the 50-over World Cup in India. So what we are seeing today is a very recent development. To tell you the truth Sri Lankan cricket is currently in a mess,” Muralitharan said.
“Politicians have taken over the running of the game and with little or no knowledge of the game, they are destroying the institution with every passing day,” he said.
“Cricket is all about confidence. Giving the players the confidence to perform. Making them feel great when they wear Sri Lankan colours. I did not become a champion bowler in one day. For 4-5 years, Arjuna kept giving me the confidence. That’s how I became who I am. Now every time a batsman goes out to bat he is told you have to score or else we will bench you,” he added.
“The same is true for bowlers. In the last one year, Sri Lanka has fielded some 60 players across all formats. 60 players in one year! This is irrational and tells you there is no vision how the game should be run. Such frequent chopping and changing will only end up destroying the game further,” he remarked.
But have the players done justice to the opportunities they have been given?
“Take the case of Kusal Mendis. All of us thought he was a bright spark and will serve Sri Lanka cricket for a long time. He started out extremely well. However, within months he was out of the team. One bad series and dropped. Such things do little to inspire confidence among cricketers,” Muralitharan concluded.
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