Chennai: Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has kicked up a row with his demand for an inquiry into the 2011 World Cup final in which India prevailed over the island nation. While a few Indian cricketers who were part of the triumphant side have called Ranatunga’s comments “outrageous”, legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan feels the former captain’s sudden demand for a probe could be the result of a simmering tension between two former players.
Ranatunga and Kumar Sangakkara have been at loggerheads for a while and recently the latter had questioned why the 2009 tour of Pakistan was arranged amid security concerns?
“I think, it’s a personal battle between some past players. I don’t want to get involved in that. If he thinks it has to be investigated, so be it,” said Muralitharan, who is here as mentor of TNPL team, Thiruvallur Veerans. The 2011 World Cup was Muralitharan’s last international tournament.
Muralitharan also spoke about the upcoming India-Sri Lanka series and R. Ashwin’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with in Test cricket.
Sri Lankan cricket has been going through a tumultuous time; an early departure from the Champions Trophy, coaching crisis and a shocking ODI series defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe. Do you feel former players such as Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and yourself need to step in?
I’ve not been involved in Sri Lankan cricket for the past six-seven years. Since I retired, I’ve been in and out the country, so I don’t really understand what’s happening there. Without knowing, giving my thoughts won’t be right. But I agree, there is a problem and the performance has come down. They have to rectify it. They have to solve their own problems. Mahela or Sangakkara or myself won’t be a solution because we all have different commitments at the moment.
Do you expect Sri Lanka to give India tough fight in the upcoming series?
Obviously, India are the favourites. Sri Lanka are not playing well and India can capitalise on that. The spin combo of R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will do well in Sri Lanka if the hosts decide to roll out turning tracks. The real challenge for India will come in South Africa. The nature of the wickets in South Africa is such that the role of spinners will be minimal.
How do you see Ashwin’s growth as No.1 Test bowler in the world?
I have seen Ashwin since my Chennai Super Kings days. He always had the talent. Now, he is getting better with experience. In a way, IPL helped him gain experience and then Dhoni guided him in the right way. Dhoni believed in Ashwin and brought him to the Indian side. And Ashwin is also a smart cricketer. He is probably bowling his best at the moment.
‘CSK can’t be the same’
Muttiah Muralitharan who represented Chennai Super Kings for three seasons from the inaugural edition in 2008 said it would be difficult for the two-time champions to form a formidable side now. CSK are back after a two-year suspension. “It is going to be hard. The team is not going to be the same. Since the beginning, they managed to keep the core of the team together. Now, the team is scattered. We don’t know how the player retention policy for IPL-11 works. And if there is a policy, that also means they can’t retain any players (from suspension). They will have a disadvantage,” he said.