Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) has lodged a complaint against Muttiah Muralitharan to the Australian Cricket Board as they appointed legendary off-spinner as their bowling consultant for the home series against Australia
On the eve of the first Test, SL president Thilanga Sumathipala accused Muralitharan of insulting Sri Lanka team manager Charith Senanayake in arrow over the Australians’ use of practice pitch in Colombo.
“Muralitharan’s behaviour is unacceptable and we have brought this to the notice of the Australian team management,” Sumathipala told reporters.
“It should not have happened. We are very disappointed.”
Sumathipala said Muralitharan bullied groundsmen at the Pallekele Stadium on Saturday into allowing the Australians to practice there when it was theoretically off limits to both teams.
“He rode roughshod over the groundsmen and got his (Australian) players to practise in violation of the time stipulations,” Sumathipala said. “He later confronted our team manager (Senanayake) and abused him.”
In Sri Lanka Murali is a national hero. He has 800 Test wickets to his credit , still a world record some six years after his retirement.
Earlier in his career, Australias on many occasions termed him ‘chucker’ so his association with the Australian team raised eyebrows . The 44 year was labeled “chucker’ by Australians’s then prime minister John Howard.
In the wake of the criticism, Muralitharan posted a youtube video where he defended his decision.
“I am doing a professional job,” said the 44-year-old former spinner.
“I am not a traitor. Sri Lanka has not tried to make use of my services, so I am helping the Australians who value my contributions.”
Senanayake refused to say anything, but a source close to the team said the manager and Muralitharan had exchanged words on Saturday at Pallekele stadium, on the outskirts of Kandy, which is hosting the first Test.
SLC president also said that Murali is coaching a team who never respected him.
“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.”