Melbourne, June 18: Cricket Australia (CA) today announced that Sri Lankan great Muthiah Muralitharan will be an Australian team coaching consultant on the Tour of the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan later this year.
The highest Test match wicket-taker of all time will work with Australian players as they prepare for the Test series against Pakistan in late September, a media release from CA said on Wednesday.
Australia's number one spinner Nathan Lyon is currently in Sri Lanka working with Muralitharan and spin coach John Davison along with emerging players James Muirhead (VIC), Will Bosisto (WA), Clive Rose (TAS) and Matthew Short (VIC) as part of the National Cricket Centre Spin Programme.
Muralitharan's appointment is part of Australian Head Coach Darren Lehmann's plan to enlist the support of specialist coaching consultants to assist the team's preparation at key times throughout the year.
"Muthiah Muralitharan is a true great of the game and his involvement with the Australian team will bring enormous benefits. He really understands the conditions we'll face and will be able to impart a great amount of knowledge," Lehmann said.
"Not only will he help guide our spinners during that tour, but he will also work with our batsman to help them prepare to play Pakistan's dangerous spin bowlers.
"As we've shown in recent times we'll bring in dedicated skill-specific coaching consultants to our support staff as and when we see fit. That means having more regular support from technical experts to help work on specific areas of performance.
"Most recently we had Shane Warne join us in South Africa, and throughout the Australian summer we had a range of former Australian players around the team during the Test series to help impart specialist knowledge. This time around we are fortunate enough to have Muthiah work with us."
Commenting on the appointment CA Executive General Manager Team Performance, Pat Howard said it was a boost to get someone of Muralidaran's calibre to help prepare the players for the encounter against Pakistan.
"We know it's going to be a tough, hard contest in the UAE against Pakistan on wickets we predict will be friendly for spinners," Howard said.
"Muthiah knows those conditions well and will be fantastic in not only aiding our spinners on how to understand and best utilise the conditions, but to also work with our batsmen to help them tackle those threats," Howard said.
Commenting on his appointment, Muralitharan said: "I'm very much excited; I know the Australian team is a very good side, but hopefully I can have a little bit of input to help them do well in the series against Pakistan," Muralitharan said.
"Those conditions might help spinners and I know a few tricks that might help them on what to do as I have played a lot of matches in those conditions in the UAE and hopefully I can help them a little bit.
"Ajmal is a difficult customer for all the best batsmen in the world, but he bowls a little bit similar to me so perhaps if I can bowl to the Australian batsman it might help a little bit and give them some tips.
"Nathan Lyon has been bowling brilliantly but hopefully I can help him a little bit on how to bowl in these subcontinent conditions, on how to use the conditions and how to setup the field; I have bowled to most of the Pakistani batsman in the past so hopefully I can help a bit."
The National Performance Squad members have been working with Sri Lankan coaches at facilities in Colombo developing their skills in local conditions to build on their experience in subcontinent conditions.
The players return home on Monday after more than three weeks learning their craft with Davison and Brad Hogg, who was in Colombo for the first half of the programme.