Bridgetown: Legendary Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has been named the final international franchise player for the lucrative Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 event which bowls off in July.
The 41-year-old Muralitharan grabbed a record 800 wickets in 133 Tests and 534 in 350 One-Day Internationals before retiring two years ago.
Since then, he has continued to ply his trade for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and in the myriad of Twenty20 leagues across the globe.
“I am really looking forward to playing in the first ever CPL - it is going to be a fantastic spectacle for the fans and a great experience for all the players involved,” Murali said Wednesday.
“I am good friends with a number of the West Indian players, especially Chris Gayle as we play together in IPL, and having the chance to play on a team with guys competing in their home countries will be fantastic for me.
“I am also excited that there will be so many young West Indian players involved in the tournament and I hope to pass on some of my cricketing experiences as the tournament progresses. I can’t wait for it to get started.”
Muralitharan is the sixth international player to be named, joining Australia’s Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez and Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa.
Already, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels have been confirmed as the six West Indies franchise players.
Each of the six franchise teams will comprise 15 players, and a player draft is expected to take place May 24 to determine who will make up these teams.
CPL organisers say a total of 90 players will be contracted to play in the tournament.
Franchises will be based in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.