COLOMBO, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 25th july, 2016) : Sri Lanka's cricket board lodged a complaint Monday with the visiting Australians after their bowling consultant and local legend Muttiah Muralitharan was involved in a bust-up with his former colleagues. On the eve of the first of three Tests, board president Thilanga Sumathipala accused Muralitharan of insulting Sri Lanka team manager Charith Senanayake in a row over the Australians' use of a practice pitch.
"Muralitharan's behaviour is unacceptable and we have brought this to the notice of the Australian team management," Sumathipala told reporters. "It should not have happened. We are very disappointed." Sumathipala said Muralitharan had bullied groundsmen at the Pallekele Stadium on Saturday into allowing the Australians to practise there when it was theoretically off limits to both teams. "He rode roughshod over the groundsmen and got his (Australian) players to practise in violation of the time stipulations," Sumathipala said.
"He later confronted our team manager (Senanayake) and abused him." There was no immediate comment from the Australians. Muralitharan is a national hero in Sri Lanka after taking 800 Test wickets, still a world record some six years after his retirement. But his decision to lend his local expertise to the tourists has raised eyebrows, not least because the 44-year-old was once labelled a "chucker" by Australia's then-prime minister John Howard.
Stung by criticism on social media, Muralitharan recently posted a video on YouTube in which he defended his decision to help the Australians as a freelance bowling consultant. "I am doing a professional job," said the 44-year-old former spinner. "I am not a traitor. Sri Lanka has not tried to make use of my services, so I am helping the Australians who value my contributions." He also accused the Sri Lankan board, which recently rehired the South African Graham Ford as coach to the national side, of paying foreigners more than locals. "If they pay 100 rupees to a white coach, they will pay a Sri Lankan only 20 rupees," Muralitharan said. "They don't treat us well."