Muttiah Muralitharan says that Sri Lankan cricket is currently in a mess as politicians have taken over the running of the game and with little or no knowledge of the game they are destroying the institution with every passing day.
In a conversation with India’s Economic Times, the Sri Lankan spin legend came down hard on the country’s cricket administration when asked about Sri Lanka cricket’s downfall.
From the days of Sanath Jayasuriya, Kaluwitharana, Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga to today, it has undergone a sea change, the former World Cup winner said.
“Don’t go so far back. In 2014, we won the World T20 beating India in the final in Dhaka and in 2011 we made the final of the 50-over World Cup in India.” So what we are seeing today is a very recent development, he said.
“To tell you the truth Sri Lankan cricket is currently in a mess. Politicians have taken over the running of the game and with little or no knowledge of the game they are destroying the institution with every passing day.”
Muralitharan stated that cricket is all about confidence, giving the players the confidence to perform and making them feel great when they wear Sri Lankan colours.
International cricket’s highest wicket-taker said he did not become a champion bowler in one day and that for 4-5 years, former cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga kept giving him the confidence. “That’s how I became who I am.”
“Now every time a batsman goes out to bat he is told you have to score or else we will bench you. The same is true for bowlers.”
“In the last one year Sri Lanka has fielded some 60 players across all formats. 60 players in one year! This is irrational and tells you there is no vision how the game should be run,” he charged.
Muralitharan said such frequent chopping and changing will only end up destroying the game further.
Taking the case of Kusal Mendis as an example, he said that they all thought the young batsman was a bright spark and will serve Sri Lanka cricket for a long time.
“He started out extremely well. However, within months he was out of the team. One bad series and dropped. Such things do little to inspire confidence among cricketers.”