SYDNEY — Legendary Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is to take a guest coaching role at Australia’s top cricket academy in a bid to revamp the nation’s spin hopes, according to reports.
Muralitharan, the world’s leading wicket-taker in both Tests and one-dayers, would spend several weeks at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence for intensive training with the nation’s rising spinners, the Daily Telegraph said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity ... Murali has probably forgotten more about spin bowling than most people will know in a lifetime,” Australian selector Greg Chappell told the Sydney newspaper.
“It is not just Murali’s obvious physical skill that will be a huge benefit for our young spinners, it is also his physical toughness, his cleverness, his cunning and his ability to be able to set a batsman up and bowl 10-15 overs to a plan,” he added.
The off-spinner’s technique would also be recorded and downloaded into the academy’s “virtual bowler” machine, allowing batsmen to square off against a cyber-Murali in the nets.
It would be an important coup for despondent Australia, languishing with few spin options after its crushing Ashes defeat by England.
The kingpin of the Sri Lankan attack for 18 years with a record 800 Test wickets to his name, Muralitharan, 38, is one of world cricket’s most revered and controversial figures.
He was famously no balled in Australia’s 1995 Boxing Day Test for chucking before outraged fans, and his bowling action was called into question numerous times by the International Cricket Council.
Muralitharan has said he will bow out of international cricket after this month’s 2011 World Cup, following his retirement from the Test circuit in July last year.