Murali joins Australian coaching staff for Pak Test series

AFP| Updated: Jun 18, 2014, 11:01 AM IST

Sydney: Sri Lankan spin great Muthiah Muralitharan announced on Wednesday that he will join the Australian coaching team for their series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The world`s leading Test wicket-taker is already working with Australia`s top spinner Nathan Lyon as part of Australia`s National Cricket Centre Spin Programme, and has agreed to become more involved.

His signing is a coup given his knowledge of the doosra delivery, which has long baffled the Australians, and with Pakistan`s Saeed Ajmal among the game`s most potent mystery spinners.
"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," said Muralitharan.

"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."

The 42-year-old retired from international cricket after Sri Lanka lost the World Cup final to India in 2011. His appointment is part of coach Darren Lehmann`s plan to enlist the support of specialist coaching consultants to assist the team`s preparations throughout the year.

Muralitharan`s role will be similar to that filled by fellow spin legend Shane Warne on the recent tour of South Africa. "Muthiah Muralitharan is a true great of the game and his involvement with the Australian team will bring enormous benefits," said Lehmann.

"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."

Australia play Pakistan on neutral ground in the UAE in a series comprising three one-day matches, two Tests and a Twenty20 from October 3-November 1. Pakistan have been forced to play their home series at neutral venues since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.