Politicians are destroying cricket in Sri Lanka: Murali

18 April 2018 10:45 am - 34     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lankan cricket is a mess because politicians have taken over, and with little or no knowledge of the game they are destroying the institution with every passing day, cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan said.

In an interview with Indian Economic Times, Muralitharan spoke about the changes in Sri Lankan cricket and why wrist spinners offer better dividends in good batting conditions.

The Conversation:

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. 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. 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. 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.

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.

Moving away to something different now. We’ve recently seen India prefer Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal over Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja because they get more purchase in overseas conditions. Wrist spinners rather than finger spinners seem to be the flavour. Your take on this.?

Wrist spinners will always give you better dividends in overseas conditions. Or more simply put in good batting conditions. There can’t be any debate on this matter. They are expected to pick more wickets and I can clearly see and understand why the Indian selectors have done what they have done. There’s always an element of mystery to wrist spinners and until this mystery is decoded they will deliver for the captain. I don’t know whether Ashwin or Jadeja will be back but the reasoning behind the call is fairly obvious. And both Kuldeep and Chahal have done well and justified the faith shown in them.

Are you saying that to be successful every spinner today will have to have something mysterious in his repertoire?

While that is correct I’m also saying you have to keep your core intact. I always emphasised on bowling off-spin first and then trying out other things. Bowling too many doosras, for example, can impact your off spin bowling and it has happened to people in the past. That’s what modern day spinners need to keep in mind.

Coming to IPL, very good start to the season for your team.

It is a marathon and the race has just started. What we’ve done is create a team that has real good balance. Many people asked why we chose Wriddhiman Saha. It was a clearly thought out strategy. Last year we did not have good spin back-up options after Rashid Khan. This year we do. We have picked Sakib Al Hasan as our first choice left-arm spinner. When you have two quality spin bowlers in your team, it’s essential you have a good keeper. Else, the chances created by the spinners are wasted more often than not. So in that sense we’ve done what we could have. Now only time will tell if the planning gives us the results we are hoping for.

A word on David Warner’s absence — you must be missing him.

His are big shoes to fill. He has been an exceptional player for us and for any team he has played for. But there is little that can be done and I have to say Kane Williamson has led the team very well in Warner’s absence. He has the experience and has held the dressing room together quite nicely.

  Comments - 34

  • max Wednesday, 18 April 2018 10:53 AM

    Under yahapalanaya, SL cricket is experiencing a very bad pitch.

    johan Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:28 AM

    Best retired performers from Cricket should be absorbed to the board to give guidance without any political interference

    L.P. Mendis Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:49 AM

    Now Yahapalanaya is stand still and blinking.

    Boru Eppa Putha Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:51 AM

    Hay don't talk nonsense. What does MR's regime did for Cricket. Former Sports minister robbed in billions.

    Premalal Wednesday, 18 April 2018 02:35 PM

    Politicians are destroying the country. period.

    TONY Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:00 AM


    ANTON Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:15 AM


    Dennis Reeves Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:52 AM

    I am wondering is the Govt. is in operation. Head is going on jolly trips, others are sleeping or fighting for power.

    johan Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:22 AM

    To re organize get one independent person from the business community like previous Chaffter whom the politicians should not meddle with.

    Jude Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:26 AM

    If someone can get rid of Thilanga !!!?? Then lankan cricket can bring the glory days back!!

    Former Cricketer Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:28 AM

    What he says about SLC is very true. We do not need to be inside SLC to see that. When Bangalis came and made havoc in the dressing room and destroyed the glass door, the CCTV went missing. There are clubs who has voting rights but do not play. Players talk to politicians when they get dropped from the team. This is all because of the politicians who are corrupt to the core who govern SLC and this country in general. They destroyed this beautiful country.

    Well said Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:15 PM

    Well said

    Jude Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:36 AM

    The problem starts at SLC!!! No decent human being want to get involved with SLC!!??Hathru allways wanted to coach lankan team and he's a qualified coach and his coaching record very impressive!!

    Kandy Cricket Lover Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:40 AM

    100% true Murali, only our dirty politicians who does not know anything about Cricket (Businessman- Chairman and Street fighter- Sports Minister) become heads of our Cricket Board, nothing to comment further.

    saman Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:41 AM

    Murali is 100% correct! Political interference and sports do not mix! Players like Murali, Kumar and Mahela should have been at the forefront of the rebuilding process instead of failed yesteryear stars like Asanka!

    Atha Katha Ranasinghe Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:42 AM

    Murali, Arjuna Ranatunga would have been given the Sports Ministry, then he knows what to do. But Prez and PM always take wrong decisions to post the wrong heads for important portfolios.

    Dr. A.C.B. Jayaweera Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:44 AM

    Except a few sporty politicians are there whom respects sports, the rest all are thugs and looters not only in the ruling party opposition too.

    True SriLankan Cricket Lover Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:47 AM

    Murali, just a suggestion - Arjuna, Sanga, Mahela and yourself should come forward to build our Cricketers to shine well in the coming years, other-wise we will be in the bottom, believe me. Leave the dirty rubbish politicians away.

    Arnold Wednesday, 18 April 2018 11:55 AM

    Its time for people to get together and select a suitable person / people to run the country. When 2 groups of thieves are vying for our votes, we got NO alternative other than casting our votes to the marginally better thief.

    Samitha Wednesday, 18 April 2018 12:27 PM

    After 2015 General Election Mr. Navin Dissanayake was removed from Ministry of Sports due to Political Hidden Agenda . Politicians Ruined Game of Cricket in Sri Lanka.

    Waco Wednesday, 18 April 2018 12:50 PM

    Giraw Beneta Rilaw Ringala.

    Unchikun Wednesday, 18 April 2018 01:00 PM

    Hey man, it is not only cricket, the whole country is being destroyed by politicians.

    D.E.M.O.Crazy Wednesday, 18 April 2018 02:53 PM

    What cricket they are destroying the entire country and its people.

    Anthony Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:04 PM

    I do agree with Murali . Hang Politics and get the correct Board Genuine Persons with Experience. We should not involve Politicians when it comes to sports. When you speak about cricket who is the minister who played International Cricket.

    Dhammika Wednesday, 18 April 2018 04:11 PM


    Dhammika Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:12 PM


    CITIZEN Wednesday, 18 April 2018 03:39 PM

    Quite true! Game is in a mess because the people at the helm are ones who have never lifted a bat! What cricket will those fellows who played elle in the backyards of their homes in the village know??? Naturally, its "garland in the hands of the monkey"!!!

    Ceylon Wednesday, 18 April 2018 04:03 PM

    Why politicians involve with sports?.

    Don Wednesday, 18 April 2018 08:46 PM

    Now Cricket would be in a good place without Dayasiri and Sumathipala who were the selectors of Sri Lankan Team.

    Neo Thursday, 19 April 2018 08:43 AM

    Select people with proven track records. Not people who are after money and those who act in a high handed manner.

    Ishan Thursday, 19 April 2018 08:47 AM

    Very true Murali..not only cricket they destroy everything in this country. Arjuna should given sport ministry ,

    Atha Katha Karunapala Thursday, 19 April 2018 10:12 AM

    Sumathipala and Dayasiri should be thrown out soon, if SL cricket to improve.

    R. Anthony Thursday, 19 April 2018 04:49 PM

    Please include Asanka Gurusinghe with Sumathipala and Dayasiri Jayasekers if you Love your country and Cricket

    L. Perera Friday, 20 April 2018 06:11 AM

    Not only cricket, but everything

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