Mentor Murali to offer Veerans his expertise

The eminent former off-spinner will provide players “the right environment” in his guiding role for his team in the TNPL.

Muttiah Muralitharan will be in his ‘second home’ of Tamil Nadu for the Twenty20 league.   -  V. Ganesan

In a storied career, Muttiah Muralitharan has been everywhere, conquered everyone. Sachin Tendulkar in Sharjah. Adam Gilchrist in Sydney. Brian Lara in Antigua. Pragyan Ojha, as his 800th Test victim, in Galle. These Muttiah dismissals and some more were reminisced in a hotel here, on Saturday, when he was announced as a mentor for the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) team VB Tiruvallur Veerans.

Tamil Nadu he likes to visit for several reasons: it’s his ancestral land; his wife, Madhi, is from Chennai; he was part of the Chennai Super Kings and his 11-year-old son, Naren, was coached by former India cricketer V. B. Chandrasekar, who owns the Tiruvallur franchise, in Chennai.

Murali, hence, is happy to help Chandrasekar’s team. But, “I am just a mentor,” he clarifies, former India bowling coach Bharat Arun will be in charge. He, however, promises to be with Veerans on most of its matches, and, “if the boys want to know anything from my side, I can help them from my experience.”

In a short-spanned league, such as TNPL, the coach, usually, is wanting in time to study each and every member of the team. So, Murali says, “rather than adjusting their technical things or teaching them, [I will] advise them how to put a better performance… Provide them the right environment.”

TNPL, he reckons, is a talent pool for the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian team. “The recognition is there with wide coverage and easy to pick the talent. It is a great for Tamil Nadu cricket.”

Apart from TNPL, Murali comments on:

Chennai Super Kings’s return to IPL: It’s going to be hard. It’s not going to be the same. They built a team from scratch. They kept all their good players. Now the team is scattered. What is the retention policy, we don't know. They will have a disadvantage. They have a smart enough management staff to get some good players. It won't be the same to start with but they will still be a good team.

Sri Lanka’s poor form: I’ve not been involved in Sri Lankan cricket for the last six-seven years. Since I retired, I’ve been going out and playing little bit and other things… so, I don’t understand what’s happening there. Without knowing, giving my thoughts won’t be right. There is a problem. They have to find a solution. Because myself or Mahela (Jayawardene) or (Kumar) Sangakkara won’t be a solution because Sangakkara is playing cricket, Mahela is coaching like me, I am mentoring and have contracts with other teams.

India-Sri Lanka series: Obviously, India will be the favourites. But anything can happen.

Ravichandran Ashwin-Ravindra Jadeja combination: In India, they will be difficult. In Sri Lanka, they will do well but depends on the wicket that is on offer. It depends on the situation. Sri Lanka is not playing well and they can capitalise on it.

Spinners dominating the Test bowlers’ ranking: Spinners have more chances of getting wickets, especially when the matches go into the last two days. There are lot of talented spinners in the world.