I am disappointed with Muralitharan – Ranatunga

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By Hilal Suhaib

Photo: Arjuna Ranatunga
AFP PHOTO/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI.

September 18, 2010 (islandcricket.lk): Sri Lanka’s outspoken 1996 World Cup winning captain has said that he is disappointed with world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan’s decision to prolong his limited overs career and put an end to his Test career.

In an exclusive interview to be published on the September 23, 2010, edition of the Indian sports magazine, SPORTSSTAR, Ranatunga said: "I am disappointed with Muralitharan. He should have prolonged his Test journey and cut short his ODI and Twenty20 career. You saw him in the Galle Test. He had a lot more Test wickets left in him."

Considered as one of the best captains of the game, Ranatunga, has never shown a liking for the Twenty20 format of the game, even equating the format to ‘Instant Noodles’ in the past.

In 2008, during his brief stint as Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Ranatunga was embroiled in a disagreement with both Lalit Modi, the then head of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and senior Sri Lankan cricketers including the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

The players and the former IPL head were disgruntled by SLC’s scheduling of a tour to England during the IPL competition.

At the time, upsetting the all powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with several India tours scheduled was a costly option for the financially struggling SLC which resulted in the removal of Ranatunga as Chairman and the cancellation of a national tour to England.

"When I was heading the Sri Lankan Board, a few of our illustrious cricketers had to choose between a tour of England and the IPL. They opted for the IPL. That day I lost my respect for these cricketers. These players were already very well off. How much money do you want to make? There can be nothing bigger than representing your country," Ranatunga said in his interview with SPORTSTAR.

"You see, the side I led to triumph in the 1996 World Cup was not the best Sri Lankan team by any means. But I can tell you that it was the most committed side.

"That was a bunch of guys who were desperate to win. There is no point in having big names if these men cannot deliver. The Sri Lankan team of ’96 had men who were willing to die on the field.

"Here I must add that I have great admiration for Australia’s Michael Clarke. He put playing for the country ahead of all the money from Twenty20 cricket."

15 Comments

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  1. What Ranatunga is saying is
    What Ranatunga is saying is true, in my opinion. I doubt any Australian would have cut short his Test career to play ODIs and T20s. Even Vaas did the same but he had no choice. He was struggling to maintain a place in the Test side. The same can’t be said about Murali.

    The choice also to boycott the England tour was down purely to personal commercial interests of senior Sri Lankan players like Murali, Mahela, Kumar, etc.

  2. I don’t think Murali quit
    I don’t think Murali quit test cricket because of Limited overs cricket.He had to quit test cricket because he was not fit enough to play for 5 days on the trot and be as goof as he was in the test arena.His decision is spot on.There is no point trying to be like Sana.Arjuna has got this a little wrong as far as I think.
    But if what he says about the IPL is true, then our values in the game is deteriorating.I am not inclined to believe that totally either.
    But have to add this.Arjuna is the best Lankan captain ever and he has can have his opinions.But in this case Murali did the right thing.Both are proud sons of our nation.
    Be careful about the Indian Media though!!!

  3. Completely agree with
    Completely agree with arjuna…. players today are way more interested in money than representing their country!! cut off the big money and we’ll see who are genuinely interested in bringing glory to SL through cricket…

  4. Murali was fit enough to play
    Murali was fit enough to play Tests. I agree with Arjuna. It’s pretty bad how representing our motherland has become the last of the priorities.

  5. Arjuna says that some
    Arjuna says that some ‘senior’ players have enough, how does Arjuna know that they have enough? Secondly, that said England tour was arranged so that Sri Lanka replaced another team. So Arjuna really arranged that tour with the help of ECB (Another board which didn’t support IPL).

  6. @Ryan – Tait, Nannes are my
    @Ryan – Tait, Nannes are my answers mate. They have already retired from first class matches to prolong their limited overs carrer. And also Arjuna is admiring Clarke that he doesn’t play in the IPL and puts his country forward, but last year he showed his interest to play in the IPL only to be ignored by the franchises cause of his unsuitability for T20’s.

  7. What Murali did was the best
    What Murali did was the best thing he could have done. A great player should retire when he’s performing well. He’s then remembered for all his acheivements. If murali had stayed on, he would have just turned out to be like jayasuriya. N about da IPL thing, Arjuna arranged an Ad-Hoc tournament to England after the IPL was confirmed. He wants everyone else to follow in his footsteps. Not all cricketers fathers are politicians with money and power. These are proffessional cricketers whose job is playing cricket. They should be allowed to earn money when they can. Arjuna wanted to prevent them from earning money from other sources than SLC. Just because the players are contracted by the SLC that does not mean that they should dance to the tune of the SLC chariman.

  8. Look, I think that Murali
    Look, I think that Murali knows what he has done is the right decision for himself. He has achieved everything he could have done, by getting as many wickets for Sri Lanka, and the country should be graceful for him playing cricket for Sri Lanka, as he was one of the the big three (Arjuna and Aravinda included) that changed Sri Lankas position of cricket in the world, (from minnows to professionals).

    Murali did say his only regret was not winning a away test (match or series) in South Africa, India and Australia. So he could of played on test cricket and stop playing in the other formats, but test cricket is a long and tiring format of the game and if he wishes to step down from test cricket, and enjoy himself in ODI and T20 in IPL and for Sri Lanka, we should respect his decision.

    I still think Murali has a lot to offer in international cricket, helping the young ones out, availability for 2011 Cricket World Cup etc. It will be good for Sri Lankan cricket.

    But I do have to agree with Arjuna, what could be anything better than representing your country, I mean seriously?

  9. As mentioned by Murali, he
    As mentioned by Murali, he retired because he wanted to give opportunities to young players such as Mendis and Suraj. let’s face it, if Murali was still playing there is no way will Suraj or Herath get a chance to play. By retiring he has given a lot of opportunities to create more Muralis. let’s thank him for all the good things he have done to SL cricket and move on.

  10. I like one comment by Arjuna
    I like one comment by Arjuna “How much Money you Need” When you leave you can not even take one cent with you. I will support him if he ever contest a higher office.Murali, he did the right decision and now he is enjoying the shorten form of the games for love of it.Players need to make money but at the same time put their country first.

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