By Hilal Suhaib
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."