Sports

Sri Lanka’s cricket can never be saved – Muralitharan

Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning, legendary player Muttiah Muralitharan, in a startling move at a time the country is celebrating the historic Durban win, said that the predicament the country’s cricket is undergoing at the moment will continue and the game cannot be saved anyway. He said so in a recent TV interview with popular presenter Chathura Alwis.

“In my opinion, cricket cannot be saved. You can’t. Whoever comes, you can’t. We’ll be able to find a solution but that solution cannot be put into practice,” he said in an interview with TV Derana, now publicised in social media ‘You Tube’.

There, the all-time highest wicket-taker of international Test and ODI cricket, has made a scathing attack on Sri Lanka’s present head coach Chandika Hathurusingha saying the latter took advantage of the situation in getting into the present position. Murali goes on to say that Hathurusingha is not a good player-manager and him being a selector while being the coach is unreasonable.

Excerpts from the said TV interview follow:

Colombo-centred

Cricket is only for Colombo. It has not gone out. I also had to come to Colombo from Kandy to play cricket. This cannot be rectified by building big grounds (in outstations).

From clubs to District system

The prevailing club system is wrong. A village boy can never play for Sri Lanka until we go out from this club system to a district and provincial system.

On payments

Before 1996, we as members of the national team were given only Rs.2,500 for a Test match and Rs. 1,000 for a one-dayer.

Interim committee

I got to know that the present Sports Minister has asked from Shashank Manohar (ICC chairman) for permission to appoint an interim committee for some time until the Minister can change the cricket-board constitution. But then the ICC chairman has said, ‘you can do it but during that time, we’ll remove you from Test cricket.’ The fact that they have even thought of stripping us of Test status means that we are not good in that.

Social media

Look at the present team and what is happening on the Facebook. Our team those days was engaged in fisticuffs (inside dressing room) but not a single incident went out to the public. That means, after we got inside the boundary line, we played for our country.

Can’t save cricket

I have not stepped into the cricket board since 2016; that means for three years. There are things that you can do and you can’t do. I say, this is something which you can’t do.

In my opinion cricket cannot be saved. You can’t. Whoever comes, you can’t. We’ll be able to find a solution but that solution cannot be put into practice.

The problem is with the administration.

On Hathurusingha

This person (Hathurusingha) is not suitable for the job. That’s my opinion. He is a good friend of mine. But I think he took an advantage from the situation (that was prevailing when he took up the job).

Coach / player manager

The good or bad of the national team is not in the hands of the coach. It’s in the hands of the players. The coach cannot teach anything to the players.

Can a coach teach me how to bowl a ‘Doosra’? Can anyone teach Sangakkara how to bat? Only the ones who have got talent get there to play in the national team.

For a national player, there is nothing to coach. What you have to do is only man management. At that level, a good manager can be a good coach.

(Present India coach) Ravi Shastri, though has played cricket, is doing a good man-management job in the Indian team. He doesn’t go and teach techniques to Virat Kohli. That’s where Hathurusingha has got it wrong.

A coach can never be a selector. That’s very unreasonable.

I can’t intervene

I can win an election even in Colombo but I can’t win an election at the cricket board.

I cannot even be sure whether I can win at least a single vote there.

(Courtesy TV Derana)