Impossible things have been achieved in cricket – Murali

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:10 AM Oct 20 2021

Former Sri Lanka spin wizard and ICC brand Ambassador Muttiah Muralitharan was optimistic about Sri Lanka’s chances in the ongoing T20 World Cup, saying impossible things have been achieved in Cricket.

“You don’t know which team will win. Like when we won in 1996, we never thought we would win. I played in that tournament and we thought we would lose most games. We were not sure that we would reach the finals. But we did not lose a game. I am not saying that we have a talented team like that here. You may think it is not possible. 

But impossible things have been achieved in cricket” said Muralitharan in an interview at the Abu Dhabi stadium. Murali further said that the influence of Mahela Jayawardena (MJ) will be a big boost for the team. “We have been playing a lot of cricket. It’s a young team. Some players are a little inexperienced. They are playing really well because they have been involved in a lot of games. 

In addition to that, the presence of MJ is a huge bonus. These boys for the last six or seven years have had little guidance. I know MJ’s guidance has been for a very short period, but in T-20 cricket he is very experienced. He is winning competitions everywhere in the world. He knows how this format needs to be played and sharing his experience in the dressing room is great,” said Muralitharan.

 Muralitharan, who is also a member of the country’s Cricket Committee that has been calling the shots over the past few months, said that the set up was in place to run an active Cricket Committee in the past too, but had not functioned properly. “The set up was there but was not functioning. The Minister has made sure that this committee functions. The structure had been there for 20 or 30 years. Cricket Advisory Committee was in place but they were not actively involved. 

The selectors who were chosen by the Sports Council had the same system. Different Sports Ministers did things their own way. This Minister thinks rather than him selecting, the Council will select on the recommendations of the Cricket Committee and the Board. 

The last say is with the Council and then the Minister makes the final decision. This is the process that has been followed for a long time,” said Muralitharan. “The Cricket Committee - whatever knowledge we have - we will pass on. But everything will not go right. Humanly it is impossible that everything we do goes right. There will be mistakes. Mistakes should be ironed out and move forward.

 Earlier, the mistakes had been continued. We are there for two or three years. Let’s see how it goes. We want to restructure domestic cricket and improve the quality of cricket in the country. Improve the facilities and ensure that the gap between First Class cricket and international cricket is not much," added Muralitharan. He also stated that the number of first-class teams should be brought down to increase the quality of firstclass cricket, but it should happen gradually at the same speed as it has increased over the years. 

“The thing is, year by year it has increased. How are you going to throw out some of the clubs? If you do, you have to face the consequences. There will be court cases. The clubs will say it is unfair dismissal. The whole tournament can’t happen. There are many legal implications. We have to take some time to reduce the number of clubs.

 From eight clubs it gradually increased. Same way we have to reduce year by year. We have to give opportunities to all clubs. We have a three-year period. By the end of it we want to make it 15.” When asked whether he will be in SLC administration in future just like India, where his counterpart Sourav Ganguly heads the Indian Cricket Board, Murali said the Sri Lanka system does not allow that. “They have a different method in India. There are only 30 to 35 votes. You can only be President for three years. There are rules set by the Lodha Committee. 

According to that, you have to be a Chairman of the State. He was the head of Bengal and when Eastern bloc got it, he became President. That kind of a system in Sri Lanka we don’t have. I don’t want to be the Chairman or MJ to be the coach for our cricket to become better. 

There are people who can do it. If they want to do an honest job anybody can do to make it successful. Cricketers can advise administrators better. Good CEOs can run a company well,” said Muralitharan. He also stood by his earlier suggestion of wanting his former teammates Roshan Mahanama to coach the National team. “My thought is that. First, I thought the players lacked discipline.

 Roshan who has been a very disciplined person will help to get over the hurdles. You cannot teach seniors to do this and that. Their egos have been touched. If Roshan becomes coach for one or two years, the whole mindset will change. That will help Sri Lanka Cricket. It’s my opinion. Roshan has to agree. Then I would want to go to mostly our national coaches to handle things. There are vast language barriers. 

When Arjuna was captain, he built a team for a foreigner to take it further. This team is young so you need one of our own. That’s why India looked at one of their own coaches. They have had Ravi Shastri and now Rahul. Roshan for us is the start. In future we have to give our cricketers a chance. You cannot just say they are not good enough,” concluded Murali.

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:10 AM Oct 20 2021

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