Murali ‘regrets’ skipping Australia master class

Friday, 4 March 2011 03:04 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Colombo, (AFP): Sri Lanka’s record-breaking Muttiah Muralitharan regretted pulling out of a coaching stint with Australia’s emerging spin bowlers, his manager said on Thursday.

The end of May dates offered by the Brisbane-based Australian Centre of Excellence clashed with his prior commitments, manager Kushil Gunasekera said.

“Murali regrets very much that he can’t make it. He was looking forward to sharing his knowledge, and grateful that Australia was good enough to offer a contract despite what’s happened in the past,” Gunasekera told AFP. Gunasekera said the 38-year-old was busy till July, having signed up with Indian Premier League team Kochi until the end of May and English county side Gloucestershire until the end of June.

The world’s leading Test and ODI wicket-taker has at times endured a strained relationship with Australia after being called for throwing by umpire Darrell Hair in 1995 and heckled by Australian fans. His bowling action was called into question numerous times by the International Cricket Council.

“With time and age, Murali has forgiven that incident. His philosophy is to forgive and forget. He doesn’t harbour any grudges against Australia, its players or fans,” Gunasekera said.

The spin legend, who has a world record 800 wickets in Tests and 523 wickets in one-day internationals, is currently playing his fourth and final World Cup for Sri Lanka.

He plans to bow out of international cricket after the tournament, following his retirement from the Test circuit in July last year. Sri Lanka, 1996 winners and 2007 finalists, have said they would like to win the World Cup for Muralitharan.