De­cline of Sri Lankan cricket sad­dens me: Mu­rali

LEG­ENDARY SPIN­NER BLAMES PAUCITY OF TAL­ENT, LACK OF PAS­SION

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - SCITECH - —PTI

Chen­nai: Sri Lankan cricket has hit an all-time nadir and the leg­endary Mut­tiah Mu­ralitha­ran blames it on the paucity of tal­ent cou­pled with lack of pas­sion among the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of crick­eters for this steady de­cline.

Sri Lanka has been los­ing to all Test play­ing na­tions whether at home or away. World cricket’s gov­ern­ing body ICC has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion on charges of cor­rup­tion lev­elled against coun­try’s crick­et­ing es­tab­lish­ment.

De­spite win­ning both ODI (1996) and T20 World Cup (2014), Sri Lankan cricket has not quite had a smooth tran­si­tion since the re­tire­ment of golden gen­er­a­tion of play­ers like Mu­ralitha­ran, Ma­hela Jayawardene and Ku­mar San­gakkara through the years.

“I have not been as­so­ci­ated with Sri Lankan cricket ever since I re­tired. The de­cline of Sri Lankan cricket sad­dens me. For a team that had reached the World Cup fi­nal three times and has a proud crick­et­ing cul­ture, it is a wor­ry­ing sign,” Mu­ralitha­ran told re­porters here on Satur­day.

Mu­rali has ob­served that stan­dard of cricket has gone down since cur­rent crop is more fo­cussed on ma­te­rial gains rather than work­ing on im­prov­ing their game.

“In my play­ing days, money wasn’t the cri­te­rion. In the 90s, there wasn’t much money. Our pas­sion was to take wick­ets and score runs. That pas­sion has changed a bit. If play­ers are in pur­suit of money, the stan­dard of cricket goes down.

“As a player, you should think about your game and not so much the money be­cause if you per­form well, money and recog­ni­tion will fol­low,” Mu­ralitha­ran said.

Qual­ity of tal­ent is also a se­ri­ous con­cern, a re­flec­tion of which is the per­for­mance of the na­tional team over the past cou­ple of years.

“Sri Lanka of late hasn’t pro­duced enough tal­ent. In the last three to four years, the tal­ent is lack­ing. Even when the tal­ent is spot­ted, they don’t know how to play. Coaches don’t make crick­eters. Coaches can only tell you the ba­sics. It then boils down to the ef­fort of an in­di­vid­ual and his de­sire to suc­ceed,” said owner of 800 Test wick­ets.

Asked if he would be in­ter­ested in a role in Sri Lankan cricket, Mu­rali an­swered in neg­a­tive.

In my play­ing days, money wasn’t the cri­te­rion. In the 90s, there wasn’t much money. Our pas­sion was to take wick­ets and score runs. That pas­sion has changed a bit. M Mu­ralitha­ran, on Sri Lanka’s down­fall

“I don’t think I have the time to take on the job of a con­sul­tant or a men­tor of Sri Lanka on a full-time ba­sis. I am not in­ter­ested in tak­ing up any role as I am in­volved with IPL.

“Af­ter play­ing cricket at the high­est level for two decades, I want to spend more time with my fam­ily and I have other com­mit­ments as well. I am ready to of­fer ad­vice but not (game) for a hands-on in­volve­ment,” he added.

Like ev­ery­one, Mu­rali also lauded In­dia’s wrist spin twins Kuldeep Ya­dav and Yuzven­dra Cha­hal, who have played a stel­lar role coun­try’s suc­cess in the ODI for­mat for the past two years.

But how much they will suc­ceed in Eng­land will de­pend on the con­di­tions dring June-July, feels the iconic off­spin­ner.

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