Sri Lanka’s Murali to help Aussie spinners – report

SYDNEY, February 8, 2011 (AFP) – Legendary Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is to take a guest coaching role at Australia’s top cricket academy in a bid to revamp the nation’s spin hopes, reports said Tuesday. Muralitharan, the world’s leading wicket-taker in both Tests and one-dayers, would spend several weeks at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence for intensive training with the nation’s rising spinners, the Daily Telegraph said.

“This is a wonderful opportunity … Murali has probably forgotten more about spin bowling than most people will know in a lifetime,” Australian selector Greg Chappell told the Sydney newspaper.

“It is not just Murali’s obvious physical skill that will be a huge benefit for our young spinners, it is also his physical toughness, his cleverness, his cunning and his ability to be able to set a batsman up and bowl 10-15 overs to a plan,” he added.

The off-spinner’s technique would also be recorded and downloaded into the academy’s “virtual bowler” machine, allowing batsmen to square off against a cyber-Murali in the nets.

It would be an important coup for despondent Australia, languishing with few spin options after its crushing Ashes defeat by England.