Muttiah Muralitharan has echoed former Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene’s sentiments in rejecting an official request made by Minister of Provincial Councils, Local Government and Sports, Faiszer Musthapa to consult with Sri Lanka Cricket to develop the game in the country.
News that Minister Musthapa had requested former Sri Lanka Cricket legends, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Aravinda De Silva and Roshan Mahanama to be consultants of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on matters related to cricketing areas broke yesterday, at which time Jayawardene was quick to respond that he would not be interested in such a role, citing that he did not have confidence in the system.
Mahela Jayawardene has expressed his reluctance…..
The Minister had made this request on receiving a letter from Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Ashley De Silva, which stated that the national selectors would very much like to have Jayawardene, Sangakkara, De Silva and Mahanama appointed to a Cricket Committee, for the “greater interest of the game of Cricket in Sri Lanka”. The letter further went on to request that the Minister obtain the services of Muralitharan to consult with the spin bowlers.
Murali responded with an official statement on Facebook, saying “I am of the view that it is an insincere, cunning move, more to use us when the Cricket administration is in such a deplorable state and standby the sentiments that Mahela has expressed not able to trust the system as per his own experience of attempting to resolve pressing issues which was never implemented. It is sad that National cricketers are not consulted until it hits the rock bottom!”
In his statement Murali also revealed that he had initially learned of the selectors’ interest in obtaining his services through the media as no one from the board had approached him directly until after he had found out about the request.
“I appreciate the invitation which firstly reached me via the media and then officially confirmed by the CEO as per the conversation we had after which he emailed the letter of confirmation.”
Murali and Sri Lanka Cricket traded verbal blows during the 2016 Australia tour of Sri Lanka, when the former was contracted by Cricket Australia as a spin bowling consultant. Murali did not take too kindly to the board’s insinuation that he was a ‘traitor’ to work in the Aussie camp and some pronounced unpleasantness ensued.
Sri Lanka’s record-breaking spinner Muttiah Muralitharan….
Despite this, Murali has also said that he would be open to working with SLC in the future, saying “I would not hesitate to give of my time if I do realize the genuineness and credibility of the administration despite my own professional coaching engagements world wide”
*Roshan Mahanama has also responded to the invitation in the negative, expressing that he would not be willing to come on board until such time that ‘the burning issues that the SLC is currently faced with’ are properly addressed and resolved.
In a letter addressed to the Minister, Mahanama went on to say “I detest political interference, dishonesty and lack of transparency at any level and until someone makes a positive effort to eliminate them, I consider it prudent to stick to my principles and play the selective role I have chosen.”
The letter in full read as follows: Roshan Mahanama 1
With Jayawardene, Muralitharana and Mahanama rejecting the invitation, only Sangakkara and De Silva are yet to respond to the Minister’s request.
*The story has been updated with Mahanama’s response.