Cricket

Muralitharan joins old enemy

2014-06-18 07:23
Muthiah Muralitharan (AP Photo)

Sydney - Sri Lankan spin great Muthiah Muralitharan announced on Wednesday he will join the Australian coaching team for their series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The world's leading Test wicket taker is already working with Australia's top spinner Nathan Lyon as part of Australia's National Cricket Centre Spin Programme, and has agreed to become more involved.

His signing is a coup given his knowledge of the doosra delivery, which has long baffled the Australians, and with Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal among the game's most potent mystery spinners.

"I know the Australian team is a very good side, but hopefully I can have a little bit of input to help them do well in the series against Pakistan," said Muralitharan.

"Those conditions might help spinners and I know a few tricks that might help them on what to do as I have played a lot of matches in those conditions in the UAE and hopefully I can help them a little bit.

"Ajmal is a difficult customer for all the best batsmen in the world, but he bowls a little bit similar to me so perhaps if I can bowl to the Australian batsman it might help a little bit and give them some tips."

The 42-year-old retired from international cricket after Sri Lanka lost the World Cup final to India in 2011.

His appointment is part of coach Darren Lehmann's plan to enlist the support of specialist coaching consultants to assist the team's preparations throughout the year.

Muralitharan's role will be similar to that filled by fellow spin legend Shane Warne on the recent tour of South Africa.

"Muthiah Muralitharan is a true great of the game and his involvement with the Australian team will bring enormous benefits," said Lehmann.

"He really understands the conditions we'll face and will be able to impart a great amount of knowledge.

"Not only will he help guide our spinners during that tour, but he will also work with our batsman to help them prepare to play Pakistan's dangerous spin bowlers."

Australia play Pakistan on neutral ground in the UAE in a series comprising three one-day matches, two Tests and a Twenty20 from October 3-November 1.

Pakistan have been forced to play their home series at neutral venues since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.

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