Murali To Help Australians
Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will join the Australian coaching team when they take on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates later this year.
Muralitharan, the all-time leading Test wicket-taker, will take on a role as an Australian team coaching consultant, working with the players before the Test series which begins in October.
Nathan Lyon is already in Sri Lanka, working with Muralitharan and spin coach John Davison, and the pair are also coaching emerging players James Muirhead, Will Bosisto, Clive Rose and Matthew Short.
The appointment of Muralitharan is part of Australia head coach Darren Lehmann's plan to bring specialist coaching consultants on board to help prepare the team for specific series and challenges.
“Muttiah Muralitharan is a true great of the game and his involvement with the Australian team will bring enormous benefits," Lehmann said.
"He really understands the conditions we’ll face and will be able to impart a great amount of knowledge.
"Not only will he help guide our spinners during that tour, but he will also work with our batsman to help them prepare to play Pakistan’s dangerous spin bowlers.
"As we’ve shown in recent times we’ll bring in dedicated skill-specific coaching consultants to our support staff as and when we see fit. That means having more regular support from technical experts to help work on specific areas of performance.
"Most recently we had Shane Warne join us in South Africa, and throughout the Australian summer we had a range of former Australian players around the team during the Test series to help impart specialist knowledge. This time around we are fortunate enough to have Muttiah work with us."
Commenting on the appointment CA Executive General Manager Team Performance, Pat Howard said
"It was a boost to get someone of Muralitharan's calibre to help prepare the players for the encounter against Pakistan."
Muralitharan, who took exactly 800 wickets before retiring from Test cricket in 2010, says he is excited to be joining up with the Australians.
"I’m very much excited; I know the Australian team is a very good side, but hopefully I can have a little bit of input to help them do well in the series against Pakistan," he said.
"Those conditions might help spinners and I know a few tricks that might help them on what to do as I have played a lot of matches in those conditions in the UAE and hopefully I can help them a little bit.
"Ajmal is a difficult customer for all the best batsmen in the world, but he bowls a little bit similar to me so perhaps if I can bowl to the Australian batsman it might help a little bit and give them some tips.
"Nathan Lyon has been bowling brilliantly but hopefully I can help him a little bit on how to bowl in these subcontinent conditions, on how to use the conditions and how to setup the field; I have bowled to most of the Pakistani batsman in the past so hopefully I can help a bit."
Australia play a Twenty20 International, three One-Day Internationals and two Tests against Pakistan.
© Cricket World 2014