Muttiah Muralitharan has hit back at his critics
Sri Lanka’s record-breaking spinner Muttiah Muralitharan launched a blistering attack on his former bosses after they complained about his behaviour in his new role as a mentor to Australia.
After his former employers said Muralitharan was damaging his legacy, he accused Sri Lanka’s board of setting him up as a fall guy if the hosts lose a series to the visiting Australians.
And Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in Test history, then accused the board president of knowing nothing about cricket and angrily denounced any suggestion of being “a traitor”.
“If Sri Lanka loses, they (the board) will say it is because of Murali,” he said. “They have no right to accuse me of being a traitor. Have they done 100th of what I have contributed to cricket in Sri Lanka?
“This is a political game to cover their shortcomings,” he added. “I am being used as a pawn to cover their failings.”
His outburst was sparked by a complaint by the board that he had bullied groundsmen into letting the Australians practise on the pitch which hosted the opening match in a three-Test series from Tuesday (26).
Board president Thilanga Sumathipala had accused Muralitharan, 44, of insulting Sri Lanka team manager Charith Senanayake.
“Muralitharan’s behaviour is unacceptable and we have brought this to the notice of the Australian team management,” Sumathipala said. “It should not have happened. We are very disappointed.
“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. He is creating long-term damage for himself among his fans. I feel sad.”