Providence: Muttiah Muralitharan could still feature for Sri Lanka in the World Twenty20, according to captain Kumar Sangakkara, after officials said he`d been ruled out with a groin injury.
A statement released by Sri Lanka Cricket in Colombo earlier yesterday said the star off-spinner had been "advised to rest for two or three weeks" following a groin problem he suffered during the team`s two-wicket opening match defeat by New Zealand here on Friday.
That would rule him out of the rest of the World Twenty20.
But Sangakkara, speaking after Sri Lanka`s 14-run, rain-affected, win over Zimbabwe here yesterday, said Muralitharan - whose place against the Africans was taken by 25-year-old off-spinner Suraj Randiv - would be given a chance to prove his fitness.
"We haven`t ruled him out completely," Sangakkara told reporters. "We are going to give him a few more days to try and see whether he can get on the park and compete at 100 percent for us.”
"If not we have Suraj Randiv who has had a very impressive six months in domestic and international cricket.
"He`s bowled against some of the toughest opponents in the world on flat tracks in India and Bangladesh.”
"He can field brilliantly, handle a bat and more importantly get through his four overs.”
"The cover is there, of course you can`t replace Murali, we would love to have him all the time, but we have tried to cover for changes to the team."
Earlier, the SLC statement appeared to indicate the World Twenty20 was over for 38-year-old vice-captain Muralitharan.
"Clinical tests revealed a grade one strain of his right adductor muscle," team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek said in the statement.
"Murali has been advised to rest for two to three weeks."
Muralitharan, who is the most successful bowler in history with a record 792 Test and 512 one-day wickets, took two wickets for 25 runs against New Zealand.
Unless Zimbabwe beat New Zealand by a huge margin, Sri Lanka are set to go through to the Super Eights with the Black Caps.