Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, the man with more international wickets than any other player in history, has been confirmed as the sixth and final international franchise player for this year’s Caribbean Premier league (CPL).
The man known universally as Murali has 1347 wickets across the test, One-Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) formats in an international career spanning 20 years, and now he will line up in the inaugural franchise-based tournament that will take place in six countries in July and August.
“I am really looking forward to playing in the first ever CPL – it is going to be a fantastic spectacle for the fans and a great experience for all the players involved ” stated Murali. “I am good friends with a number of the West Indian players, especially Chris Gayle as we play together in IPL, and having the chance to play on a team with guys competing in their home countries will be fantastic for me. I am also excited that there will be so many young West Indian players involved in the tournament and I hope to pass on some of my cricketing experiences as the tournament progresses. I can’t wait for it to get started!”
The 41 year-old, currently playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL), slots in along with other international stars Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist from Australia, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, Pakistan T20I captain Mohammad Hafeez and Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa as confirmed big-name signings.
Also confirmed are six West Indies franchise players – Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels.
The player draft, which is set to take place on 24 May, will determine who will be playing where, with six franchises to be announced based in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
Murali’s hauls of 800 test wickets and 534 wickets in ODIs are both marks that are unlikely ever to be surpassed and he is one of only two bowlers, along with fellow spinner Shane Warne, to have topped 1000 wickets in international cricket.
His test haul includes 67 five-wicket hauls and 22 instances of 10 wickets in a match, and he also has 10 five-wicket hauls in ODIs.
Twenty20 International cricket arrived towards the end of his international career but he still captured 13 wickets in his 12 matches in that form of the game at a superb economy rate of 6.31 runs per over.
Murali’s outstanding control of line, length and flight and his ability to spin the ball both ways have made him a sought-after player in the shortest form of the game all over the world.
The mystery spinner has appeared not only in the IPL but also the Big Bash League in Australia, the Bangladesh Premier League, New Zealand, and county cricket in England as well as in his native Sri Lanka, and while he is yet to appear in domestic cricket in the West Indies, his record in international cricket in the Caribbean is outstanding.
In six test matches Murali captured 37 wickets, plus another 29 in 15 ODIs. That included 23 in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, when Sri Lanka lost to Australia in the final in Barbados.
Murali also played for Sri Lanka at the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean in 2010, taking two wickets in two matches before bringing down the curtain on his international career the following year after Sri Lanka lost their second successive ICC Cricket World Cup final, to India in Mumbai.
A total of 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six Franchise teams will be comprised of 15 players. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from that their particular franchise country. At least four of them must be under the age of 23, and teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players. (Courtesy Super Sports.com)