Sri Lanka media hit by Australian agency blackout; fears of anti-Murali conspiracy

Nov 13, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka fears missing out on hero Muttiah Muralitharan’s feat of becoming the greatest ever wicket taker in Test cricket because of an ongoing dispute over media access.

Master spinner Muralitharan needs just seven wickets to overtake retired Australian and fellow spinner Shane Warne’s world record tally of 708.

Muralitharan has the chance of entering the history books at the second Test against Australia starting on Friday in Hobart, a prospect that cricket-mad Sri Lankans are relishing.

But Australian cricket’s governing body has imposed restrictions on coverage of the Australia-Sri Lanka series that locked global news agencies out of the opening Test in Brisbane.

The world’s top three global news agencies — Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press — suspended all coverage of the 2007-08 cricket season, unless a deal can be agreed with Cricket Australia.

The blackout of photos, news reports, graphics and video has meant that many international cricket fans have been unable to see photos of their favourite team or read about the match’s progress.

Sri Lankan newspaper editors are increasingly frustrated as Muralitharan’s chances