Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muaralitharan is locked in a bit of an identity crises. Being a Tamil, he admits that playing for the Chennai Superkings was like playing for a home side. But the IPL auction 2011 has effectively morphed his fate, relocating him to Team Kochi.
However, always an optimist, Murali says that though he will miss captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Chennai, he is excited to play for the Kochi franchisee, the new entrant in the Twenty20 league.
Muralitharan, who had played a crucial role in CSK's title-triumph in IPL 3 and Champions League last year, was signed up by team Kochi for $1.1 million at the two-day auction in Bangalore. The tweaker says that his change in team was something he would take in his stride as such shifts are expected in the IPL.
"I played with them for three years and have several happy memories with the team. My wife is also from Chennai and she is upset with this change but it happens in the game. I will miss Chennai, my teammates and miraculous captain Dhoni," Muralitharan said."
The spin wizard, who took 40 wickets in 40 matches for Chennai in the last three seasons, said he wants to extend his IPL career for a few more years and that Kochi might provide him the perfect base to do that.
"Kochi is a new venture and we will have a new captain and new targets. I am quite excited about this. We will start afresh and try to give our best. I hope to have a home like atmosphere in Kochi as well. I hope that people will understand my language (Tamil) in Kochi also," he added.
Talking about Kochi's combination of players, Murali said the team could do with some new blood. "Kochi has experienced players like Mahela Jayawardhane, Brendon McCullum, VVS Laxman and Sreesanth. Now it is necessary to have some talented Indian youngsters," he said.