Bangalore, Mar 28: Royal Challengers Bangalore's new recruit Muttiah Muralitharan spent his first official day with the team as the Sri Lankan legend trained with his team-mates for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Muralitharan spoke to the media at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday evening. Here are the excerpts from that interaction.
Question: What do you have to say about Virat Kohli's presence in RCB team?
Muttiah Muralitharan: He's been in amazing form and hopefully he carries his form into IPL as well so that RCB can win.
Q: How has been your preparation for IPL 5?
Muralitharan: After I retired from international cricket, I played a little bit of cricket in the last IPL with Kochi. I went back to Gloucestershire, played about 16 Twenty20 matches and traveled to New Zealand, played five T20s and then went to Bangladesh for Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), but I could not play many matches because I played five and I got sick. I played a little bit of cricket but not as many matches as other international cricketers.
Q: How do you keep pushing yourself to continue playing T20s after retirement?
Muralitharan: I have done well in Twenty20 when I played three years for Chennai. I did not get much opportunity with Kochi as I played only four games. But, when I played in the other parts of the world I played really well. When I retired I got a contract for three years in IPL, so I thought I play for three years and retire. Then Kochi team went off and then I put myself into auction and got a two-year contract with RCB. So I thought it's a great opportunity for me to play for a good side, a challenging side I could say.
Q: You and your friend Anil Kumble are part of the same team. How does that feel?
Muralitharan: It's good because we both got nearly about 2000 wickets in ODI and Test cricket if you add. It's great pleasure to be with him and he is always a good friend of mine. He will be on the managing side and I will be playing few matches here and there because I know when they got me. Because they needed a second spinner. Daniel (Vettori) is going to captain so he is
going to take the majority of the matches.
Q: Any injury concerns for you?
Muralitharan: Not really, there are niggles. I have played 20 years of cricket and I have always played with niggles so these are part and parcel of the game.
Q: How do you see spinners' role in Twenty20?
Muralitharan: It's very important to have spinners in T20 becuase every team should have two or three good spinners, atleast two good spinners and one part time spinner. Everywhere in the world spinners have been getting the wickets and they control the run flow.
Q: You thoughts on the team composition for IPL 5?
Muralitharan: I think they can put different choice of players to get the balance. They have 11 foreign players and plenty of local players, so it's a big fight for the players to get a chance to play. Some players are permanent players and some are on and off. It's competitive.
Q: How different is it being with RCB?
Muralitharan: It has just been a day with RCB. It's going to be just another team for me as I have played for tons of teams everywhere in the world. I know how to get along with the players. I think it will be a memorable side as RCB has a good players with many key players including Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle, who is in a different mood of his life. I think nobody will play a T20 game like him.
Q: How is it playing alongside your former Sri Lankan team-mate Tillakaratne Dilshan?
Muralitharan: For the past last 10 years I have been playing with him. It's good to be here together. I think he is the only other Sri Lankan to be signed by RCB. I think it's enjoyable moment for everyone because every country every player will be having fun during the IPL.
Q: Do you see any match winning bowler with Sri Lankan side after your retirement?
Muralitharan: Rangana Herath is bowling well and taking wickets. It's hard to find players once you go but three years you have to give them a chance and definitely they will find someone. Rangana is bowling well but as a team they did not collect much. But recently they have done well in Australia but they didn't do well in Asia Cup. At the moment I don't know what is happening with the Test match it's hanging in balance and anybody can win the match.