Cricket 2 years ago

'Aussie' Murali fine by Sri Lanka captain

  • 'Aussie' Murali fine by Sri Lanka captain

    Australia's bowling consultant, Sri Lankan former cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan (R) speaks with Australian cricketer Stephen O'Keefe during a practice session at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on July 24, 2016. Sri Lanka's record-breaking spinner Muttiah Muralitharan launched a blistering attack July 25 on his former bosses after they complained about his behaviour in his new role as a mentor to Australia. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has brushed off any perceived friction with compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan on the eve of the first Test against Australia in Kandy.

Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker ruffled a few feathers when he was employed by Cricket Australia as a consultant coach to assist the tourists in coming to grips with the local conditions leading into their three-Test tour.

It created the bizarre situation of the retired off-spinner helping Australia as they bid to retain the silverware that bears his name - the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy.

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Even Muralitharan's father said he would be backing Australia in support of his son.

However on Monday at Pallekele Stadium - a day before the first Test begins at the venue - Mathews was adamant that there's no bad blood between the Sri Lankan camp and Muralitharan.

"I think it's not an issue," said Mathews of his former teammate.

"Anyone is allowed to do any job. We also can take him in the future.

"The Aussies have taken him to get as much information as possible, and no one can stop that.

"They've played the game and if they want to pursue coaching and consultancy roles, I don't see an issue."

Muralitharan isn't the only Sri Lankan that has been giving some inside knowledge to Australia's Test squad.

Former Sri Lanka batsman Thilan Samaraweera recently worked with some of Australia's Test players during a consulting stint at Australia's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane ahead of the tour to the island nation.

While the tourists are short-priced favourites to win the series, the appointments proved how keen Australia are to cope with the usually dry, slow pitches - as well as high humidity - and keep a grip on their No.1 Test ranking.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's injury problems worsened ahead of the Test, with fast bowler Suranga Lakmal and allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva joining the list of absentees.

Fast bowlers Dhammika Prasad, Dushmantha Chameera and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay were injured during Sri Lanka's recent tour to England while seamer Shaminda Eranga was suspended by the International Cricket Council after his bowling action was found to be illegal.

Mathews said that Lakmal, who had recovered from a knee injury he had sustained in England, has hamstring stiffness and De Silva was hit on a finger while bowling.

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