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Sri Lanka’s performance in World Cup was very disappointing; didn’t expect that: Muttiah Muralitharan

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New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Sri Lankan’s spin-bowling legend Muttiah Muralitharan said the team's performance in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup was very disappointing, and something which he wasn’t expecting to unfold in the way it did.

In the tournament, Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, won just two matches while lost seven games to end their campaign in India at ninth place, while also dealing with injuries to various personnel, including to skipper Dasun Shanaka.

They also missed out on qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy as they finished outside of the top eight teams in the points table. “As far as the Sri Lanka team is concerned, they have the talent, but the thing is they are a little bit of lacking in commitment and discipline. If they put in the hard yards and effort, they can definitely be a formidable side.”

“They showed some glimpses of it when winning the 2022 Asia Cup, and are capable of beating India, Pakistan and other good sides. But in this year’s World Cup, it was very disappointing and a very below par performance, and I didn't expect that,” said Muralitharan in a conversation with IANS on the sidelines of the OTT launch of his biopic “800” on JioCinema happening on Saturday.

Moreover, 24 hours after their World Cup campaign ended, the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership with immediate effect due to government interference in administration, though they can still play international matches.

Muralitharan was also left saddened over the sad turn of off-field events. “Also, so many problems are happening back home. This Cricket Broad and the country have helped me come to this position. I would say, it’s a mess at the moment and somebody has to come in to get all things right.”

Widely regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers to have ever played the sport, Muralitharan, the member of 1996 ODI World Cup winning side, is the only bowler to take 800 Test wickets, while taking 534 scalps in ODIs.

Post his playing career, Muralitharan has been the bowling coach of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad since 2015, apart from being spin bowling consultants for Bengal domestic team and Australia. He expressed that Hyderabad, who ended at bottom of points table in last year’s IPL, can put up a much better showing in the 2024 season.

“I did little bit of coaching for Australia (in 2014 and 2016). Then Sourav Ganguly asked me to come and help Bengal cricket, which I did for five years. I enjoyed that a lot in Kolkata, where VVS Laxman too was there at that time, for developing and giving my knowledge to young Bengali cricketers there.”

“The Sunrisers Hyderabad owners are like a family so they asked me to come and as soon as I retired from playing in the IPL, I joined them. We had great moments there and shared the knowledge with younger cricketers, while understanding where experienced cricketers want to be.”

“For coaching in IPL, you can't do any techniques or anything like that, it’s more on the tactics, strategies and mindset. I enjoy that role as I spend two months with the team, and outside of it, we speak with other coaches, CEO, and owners as well as how to build a team.”

“So we've been successful for such a long time, but the last three years didn't go in our way. So, some changes were made and everything happened, but I think we will definitely come back. We will make some changes and make sure that we will be a formidable team in the (upcoming season of) IPL,” he concluded.



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