Sri Lankan legend Muralitharan looking forward to BBL challenge

Murali vs Warnie - BBL reignites one of cricket's greatest rivalries
Media Release | July 12, 2012

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan is looking forward to a new Aussie challenge. © Melbourne Renegades

The world’s leading Test wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan signed for the Melbourne Renegades earlier today for the second instalment of the KFC T20 Big Bash League (BBL).

Muttiah MuralitharanMelbourne Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry hailed the announcement as a major coup for the team and the competition.

“Murali’s signing is sensational news for the Melbourne Renegades. Our supporters and cricket lovers all over the world [will] have the opportunity to see one of the game’s greats plying his trade at Etihad Stadium during the Australian summer,” Coventry said.

“It sets up a mouth-watering Melbourne derby between Murali and the leggie from across the way [Shane Warne] when they reignite one of cricket’s great rivalries in the [BBL 2012] season curtain raiser.

“I’d advise all cricket fans to keep Friday 7 December free because it’s going to be a huge derby at Etihad Stadium.”

Muralitharan was delighted at the prospect of playing for the Renegades.

“I wanted to play one season in Australia and the opportunity from the Melbourne Renegades was there so I took it with both hands,” Muralitharan said.

“Last year I watched [the BBL] from New Zealand and it’s a good standard of players and a competitive tournament.

“I think it will be interesting to play against [Chris] Gayle because he’s one of the best batsmen in T20 and I played with him at the Royal Challengers Bangalore [in the Indian Premier League]. It will be good to play with him or against him.”

Muralitharan confirmed the doosra would be on show this summer at Etihad Stadium, which will again feature a specially-prepared drop-in pitch for the competition.

(Video: Muralitharan talks about his recent signing with Melbourne Renegades)

“Sometimes the drop-in pitches can assist the spinners so that might help me,” Muralitharan said.

“There’s a big Sri Lankan community [in Melbourne] so hopefully they can come and watch.”

Muralitharan said he looked forward to lining up against old foe Warne in the Melbourne derbies.

“I think Shane is a great bowler and I’ve always admired him. I’ll try to do well and he’ll try to do well for his team,” Muralitharan said.

Coach Simon Helmot said Muralitharan brings to the Renegades almost two decades of experience at the highest level of the game.

“It's difficult to say anything about Murali that hasn't already been said,” Helmot said.

Not only is he a prodigious talent with the ball, he also possesses a level of cricketing knowledge and experience that few others in the world can match.

“So even when he’s not tying down an end or taking wickets, his presence on the ground and in the dressing room can be enough to give a team that lift they need to succeed.”

After retiring from Test match cricket in 2010 with 800 wickets to his name, the Kandy-born Muralitharan wound up his career in the long format 92 scalps ahead of his nearest rival Warne.

Muralitharan’s domestic T20 record is just as you'd expect it to be - extraordinary. From 124 matches, his 144 wickets have come at just 20.61 runs apiece. Muralitharan has shone in this format, conceding just 6.36 runs per over and reinforcing his reputation as the master of applying pressure in the middle.

“Muralitharan is a lovable character on and off the field. I’m sure he’ll endear himself to our supporters and become a favourite at Etihad Stadium this summer,” Helmot said.

Muralitharan will be available for selection in all home-and-away fixtures, in addition to the finals series should the Renegades qualify.

© Melbourne Renegades

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