Muttiah Muralitharan bats for an IPL team from Kerala | Cricket News

KOCHI: The movie ‘800’, a biopic on Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, has a small Kerala connect. The sound of cricket balls in that movie was recorded at the Palace Oval ground in Tripunithura. The movie was released last October and after two months, the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket walked onto the ground on Sunday morning to inaugurate the Spin Foundation of Tripunithura Cricket Club.
The cricketing maestro was unaware of the connection the ground has with his biopic and he came to know about this only when one of the members mentioned it during the inaugural ceremony. ‘That’s indeed great,” remarked Muralitharan.
Murali, who was earlier part of the now defunct IPL side Kochi Tuskers, batted for an IPL side from the state. “Football is more popular in Kerala. When I played for Kochi Tuskers we didn’t have the same vibe in the gallery that the current ISL side enjoys. Clubs like Tripunithura Cricket Club should come forward and promote cricket in the state,” he said.
“In 2011, we played only for a year, which was unfortunate for Kerala cricket. Because if you have an IPL team, the cricketers in the state will blossom. TCC should put pressure on the cricket authorities in the state to try and get an IPL team for Kerala,” he added.
Murali’s visit to the TCC was planned at short notice and a private cricket tournament was underway at the Palace Oval ground at the time of his visit. But once the spin wizard entered the stadium, the players and the umpires stopped the game and ran towards him. The budding cricketers who were practising at the nearby nets too came and shook hands with Murali.
In a brief interaction with the budding cricketers, Muralitharan went down memory lane and shared his experience of winning the 1996 World Cup with the Sri Lankan team. “We were amateurs who used to train after our daily work. Some of us worked as bankers and some of us worked in insurance sectors. None of our opponents took us seriously,” said Murali.
“We had our captain’s (Arjuna Ranatunga) backing. He told Sanath (Jayasurya) and Kallu (Romesh Kaluwitharana) that whatever happens, they will play all the games. Their only duty was to attack the bowlers. He told them that even if both got out of the first two balls, that was not an issue. But they should keep on attacking the bowlers. That strategy worked well and we went on to win the tournament,” reminisced Murali.

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