Muralitharan: ‘Other leagues cannot be big hit without Indian players’

The legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is convinced that given the current scenario, none of the other leagues can match the IPL in stature.

Muralitharan admitted that the IPL has helped “world cricket” with “more younger people watching cricket”.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

The phenomenon that was referred to as a T20 tamasha at the time of its inception almost a decade ago has spread like a wildfire in the cricketing globe. Australia took a cue from the Indian Premier League and has launched a successful product in the Big Bash League.

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have all started their own franchise-based league while South Africa and England are set to join the franchise-based T20 league club over the next year.

Still, legendary Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is convinced that given the current scenario, none of the other leagues can match the IPL in stature.

“Whatever said and done, if Indians players are not going to playing in those tournaments, its not going to be a big hit. Because everyone wants Indian players, (otherwise) it won't have (as) big impact as IPL,” said Muralithan, the bowling coach of the Sunrisers Hyderabad on the eve of its league game against Mumbai Indians.

Indian cricketers are barred from participating in T20 leagues in other nations owing to a clause in their IPL contracts that states the player cannot participate in any other league similar to IPL.

While Muralitharan admitted that the IPL has helped “world cricket” with “more younger people watching cricket”, he stressed that Indian cricket has benefitted the most from the league. “Indian cricket has got a lot of help from this one (IPL). You don't see a Kuldeep Yadav come into a Test match and get four wickets on debut,” Muralitharan said.

“Because he had played with these guys and got experience similar to international cricket, he didn't appear to be bogged down due to the international stage. You can't get similar experience while playing domestic cricket. When you are playing IPL, you get that experience.”

While the likes of Muralitharan and Mahela Jayawardene have settled into coaching roles in the IPL, the number of Lankans featuring in the extravaganza has been on the wane in recent years. Muralitharan had no qualms in admitting lack of talent as the prime reason.

“Obviously, we don't have talent back home, so actually we are lacking (good players). We had great teams, great players but they all are retired at the moment,” he said.

“New guys are coming; Until they establish themselves, franchises won't pick them. Since you can pick only four (overseas) players in the side, it is natural to think when you have experienced performers available, why pick inexperienced Sri Lankan players. When they do well, franchises will pick them.”