What was the real reason behind Muralitharan's Test retirement?

In my last post I mentioned that TV stations in Sri Lanka were reporting that Muttiah Muralitharan would be dropped for the Asia Cup final against India on 24 June 2010.

Generally the media in Sri Lanka aren't always that far off when it comes to selection matters. Somehow the news always leaks out about changes to squad selections yet to be announced by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Even the release of breaking news stories is heavily monopolised. The news outlets who are on the good side of SLC always get the breaking news ahead of others and ahead of media releases on the SLC website.

I hear that there is some truth to reports claiming Muralitharan would be dropped for the Asia Cup 2010 final; his form in previous games also justified his omission. But it never happened. Muralitharan played.

Read what veteran cricket writer S. R. Pathiravithana wrote on his column in the Sunday Times,

Finally by any standard the right arm unorthodox off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is a legend and there may not be another like him even in the distant horizon. He is unique and his legend will live on as long as cricket lives. He is the highest wicket taker in both forms of the game and the record is going to remain the same for a long time more.

However even Murali is not Dorian Gray. At the age of thirty eight he is wiser but not younger. Yes, we too would like to see him going on till the next world cup. But it has to happen by the high standards that he has embedded against his name and not an aging fake struggling at the middle.

What happened on the eve of the Asia Cup final is still a worrying one. There is no point in sending in public statements denying about something that has happened. Those insiders will know exactly what happened that evening and what transpired later on. But the end result was Sri Lanka fell by the wayside in the final.

We like to ask if there was any link between that incident and the final result of the Asia Cup 2010.
Evidently even at the Asia Cup final he played, the opposition still respected him. But, yet there was a huge void that was very noticeable. Still, one does not drop a person with the curriculum vitae of Muralitharan just like that.

The story goes a little something like this.

The night before the Asia Cup final there were rumours all over Dambulla that the selectors and the skipper chose to drop Muralitharan for the final. In response, it is rumoured that Muralitharan had threatened to retire from all forms of the game. Let us not forget, Muralitharan was the squad's vice captain.

Enter Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Rumour has it that the Sri Lankan president then ordered an emergency meeting with the selectors and asked them to include Muralitharan for the final.

Sangakkara was confronted with the issue during the post match press conference after losing the Asia Cup to India.

“There was no such thing like that. Muralitharan will have to play a changed role in the Sri Lanka team in keeping with its requirements”, the skipper said quickly dismissing the rumour and reaffirming his own views on how a player should only be selected on merit, not reputation.

But there is no denying it. Barely two weeks after all this, Muralitharan fast tracked his Test retirement from November to July. It makes you wonder why Muralitharan didn't announce his retirement earlier when it was known as early as February that India would tour the island for a three Test series.


Ahin Das's picture

I strongly believe the Asia Cup final is where it all began. Nevertheless, correct decision, in spite of the legend Murali is, he has realised its time for other spinners and youngsters to carry forward the baton and he has been magnanimous and modest in the way he has gone about it.

Long life and god bless the champion, I am certain this is not the last hurrah between cricket, Sri Lanka and Muralitharan, his return in any form or capacity, can only be a welcoming fact for the cricketing world.

rikaz's picture

man after sangakkara came as captain we have this problem..all the seniors are getting thrown out!

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
8 hours 52 min

Interesting views...

rizmy's picture

I wonder why Murali didnt retire from all format of the internatinal cricket. One day will come for everyone time to kick out. This is the eve of the kick out time for murali. Murali please retire "KOCHCHARA KALATH ANTHIMATA ECHCHARA THAMAI". You are tru champion of everyone. KICHAWENDA EPA . We all love you.

batman87's picture
Member since:
3 July 2009
Last activity:
7 years 45 weeks

Murali is indispensable but every good thing comes to an end and it came at the right time. Couldn't have asked for a better way.

(Last edited by batman87 on July 26, 2010 - 23:17)
batman87's picture
Member since:
3 July 2009
Last activity:
7 years 45 weeks

When Sanath became the captain in 99 four primary senior players in their mid thirties got thrown as well for ODIs (Arjuna (35+),Aravinda(33+), mahanama(32+)& hashan(29+) and persisted with the young blood (mahela, russel arnold etc). Didn't it pay off?

Regarding sanaths omission, even a primary kid would justify that though its not the same with murali and vaasy. Murali made the right move unlike Sanath. Sachithra senanayake has been knocking on the door for ages . I bet he is gonna be a world class offie though he wouldn't be able to reach the pinnacle murali reached given that he has a conventional style. Just look at his FC record

44 73 9457 4612 217 8/70 11/180 21.25 2.92 43.5 12 16

(Last edited by batman87 on July 26, 2010 - 23:18)
sHAnksTER's picture

I think Murali Retired from test Cricket at his own Will and it was Murali's Choice Dnt make controversies out of nothing!!! Murali has realized that players like Suraj Randiv and Mendis is coming up and Heven forgotten the fact that Arajuna Gave him the chance when He was 17 years old!!!
So Please guys I think Murali Decision had nothing to do with Sanga am sure!!!

Sanath Should have realized and done the sameas murali!! People want Murali to stay but its not the same with Sanath!!! We have to think of Upul Tharanga he is performing well with Dilshan and their young!!! So am Totally on Sanga's Side when it comes to Sanath!!!!

Vaas is of course yes we can argue about it but the competition for vaasies position is high all u guys would agree to that right?? Angelo and Thisera aside there is a lot more guys young and hungry bowlers!!!

I have noticed that Vaasy is not the same with the old ball anymore he gets hammered in the middle spells lately!!!

I do think Vaasy Needs get alot more credit for what he has done for the country though specially for supporting murali throughout every match!!!! I think Vaasy should be praised more often than not!!


Ratne's picture

These kind of politicaly influnsed blogs won't do anything good for the SL Cricket. I don't know who is behind all this. All these Rumors around Sanga is a Crap. Let the selectors do their business and caption do his duties.
Even in Arjuna's Era there were internal politics. but no critisisms were done like this way.

jayalal's picture

There is no smoke without fire. Murali did not fare well in ODI's latterly and shud have been dropped. He saw the writing on the wall and retired from test cricket. mahinda must take blame for our losing Asia final as he requested Murali be included. Now it is easy to predict outcome of World Cup. If sanath plays on mahindas instructions,we are sure to lose as he will be a passenger.My hope is that the world cup will materialsise without hiccups as mahinda has also appointed DS as Chairman without any Admin experience and education. SLC has weak leadership as a result and we seem to follow Pakistan whose board was apponted by their President. What happened to Pakistan may happen to us due to political interference.How sad. Let the President spend money on UN delegation and it does not matter. But why o why does he want to interfere in Cricket as he knows it only on the surface.Other countries are not interested on our politics but are keen on Cricket. And they know we cannot do well in Cricket as politicinas are interfering. Let mahinda read comments from varied sources appearing in many online papers on DS, Sanath, Nishantha or let him take a secret vote from our cricketers to see what our players think of these 3 characters.
Better late than never to change the Administartion.

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