Island Cricket

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Murali has been subjected to taunts from passers-by in the streets of Adelaide

MUTTIAH Muralitharan has been subjected to taunts from passers-by in the streets of Adelaide but remains optimistic the two-Test series against Australia will be devoid of the unpleasantries of past years.

Muralitharan has met Cricket Australia officials to discuss security measures for the summer, which will include the positioning of uniformed officers near the boundary rope and plain-clothes police in notorious crowd trouble-spots.

Though satisfied with the preventative measures taken by CA, the Sri Lankan spinner conceded that little could be done to prevent the "chucker" taunts that were hurled at him during the recent practice match at the Adelaide Oval, and later in Adelaide's CBD.

"Some people have just asked for autographs and have been nice, but there have been one or two people who have shouted 'chucker' in the street and during the game in Adelaide," he said. "They are just younger guys, and I don't really pay much attention to it.

"I don't care if people say things to me during games, but it is a problem if they are throwing things. I met some of their [CA's] security people and I am happy with what they told me. Hopefully, it will be a good series."

Muralitharan admitted to nerves ahead of the series but not on account of safety concerns. Rather, he said his anxiety stemmed from an eagerness to perform well in Australia after an absence of 12 years in the Test arena.

"It is going to be a big challenge, because the wickets are fresh and they are not suited to spin," he said. "Australia's batsmen are very good, so it will be difficult."

Muralitharan requires nine wickets to surpass the Test wickets record held by Shane Warne, his long-time rival and occasional critic. Despite occasional feelings of animosity between the pair, Muralitharan said he did not feel uneasy sharing the series trophy name with Warne.

"His opinion is his opinion and I have never said anything bad about him," he said. "He's a legend of the game and one of the greatest bowlers of all time. I am happy that the trophy has our names on it."

In Brisbane, Queensland battled through a pace onslaught from exciting Sri Lankan quick Lasith Malinga to beat the tourists by four wickets in their three-day game at Allan Border Field yesterday. Chasing 142 to win from 43 overs, the Bulls lost 4-10 to be 5-51 but made it for the loss of six wickets after Clinton Perren (62 not out) and Ashley Noffke (21 not out) combined in a match-winning partnership of 64.

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