Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan has launched a scathing attack on the Sri Lankan cricket board and its President Thilanga Sumathipala insisting that he is being made a scape goat for their failure. The 44-year-old has also received backing from former skipper Kumar Sangakkara on the issue.
The former Sri Lankan international was recently hired as a mentor by the Australian cricket team before the start of their tour to Sri Lanka. On Monday, the Sri Lankan cricket Board filed a complaint against Muralitharan for 'bullying' the groundsmen at Kandy into letting the Australian cricket team practice on the pitch which was set to be used in the opening Test today.
Srilanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala then went on to say that Murali is ruining his legacy by coaching the Australian side, which had called him a 'chucker'.
"Muralidaran's behaviour is unacceptable and we have brought this to the notice of the Australian team management.
"It should not have happened. We are very disappointed.
"Professionally it is okay for Murali to coach any foreign team, but the irony is that he is supporting Australia which tried to get him out of cricket.
"He is creating long-term damage for himself among his fans. I feel sad," Sumathipala said, reported AFP.
However, Muralitharan has launched a scathing attack in reply, questioning the board's contribution to Sri Lankan cricket.
"If Sri Lanka loses, they (the board) will say it is because of Murali.
"They have no right to accuse me of being a traitor. Have they done one hundredth of what I have contributed to cricket in Sri Lanka?
"This is a political game to cover their shortcomings. I am being used as a pawn to cover their failings," Muralitharan said in his statement, reported AFP.
The 44-year-old has also accused the board of preferring foreigners over local coaches, insisting that he was never approached by the board to help out young Sri Lankan spinners.
"They don't give an opportunity to talented Sri Lankan coaches and prefer to bring white people from abroad.
"That affects our economy too because we have to pay them dollars that leave the country. That is treachery," Muralitharan added.
The 1996 World Cup winner has also received backing from fellow Sri Lankan legend, Kumar Sangakkara. The former Sri Lanka skipper took to social media to defend Muralitharan's decision to coach Australia, and insisted that he does not need to defend his patriotism over a professional choice.
Murali is a great son of Sri Lanka and he doesn't have to defend himself. He love his country. He is free to consult or coach anyone. If -— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) July 25, 2016
SLC had ever asked him to coach Sri Lanka he always will. His consultancy with anyone is a way he can give back to the game. He has given -— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) July 25, 2016
His best to his country on the field and off. He is always available for his country all they have to do is ask. We shud b proud of him— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) July 25, 2016
If any Sri Lankan spinner walks up to Muri and asks him about bowling he will be the first to spend as much time as needed to help. Free.— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) July 25, 2016
If there are any major issues I am sure that @cricketsrilanka can sit with Murali and iron them out.— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) July 25, 2016