Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan has defended his right to coach Australia’s bowlers during a Test series between the sides after being called a traitor.
Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala also said that the spinner — who took a Test record 800 wickets — “bullied” ground staff into letting Australia practice on the Kandy pitch.
The hosts were bowled out for 117 on day one of the first Test on Tuesday. “They have no right to accuse me of being a traitor,” said Muralitharan.
“Have they done one hundredth of what I have contributed to cricket in Sri Lanka? “This is a political game to cover their shortcomings. I am being used as a pawn to cover their failings.”
Muralitharan, 44, added that Sri Lanka’s cricket board had asked for his help only once since his international retirement in 2011. Australian umpires reported Muralitharan for a suspect action during his first tour to Australia in 1995 and again in 1999 - but he was cleared by ICC after tests.