Sangakkara backs Muralitharan amid Cricket Sri Lanka row


Kumar Sangakkara has leapt to Muttiah Muralitharan's defence after Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) lodged a complaint against the legendary former spinner.

Muralitharan has been criticised for taking a consultancy role with Cricket Australia for the current tour of his homeland and relations appear to have soured in the build-up to the first Test in Pallekele this week.

The 44-year-old exchanged words with Sri Lanka team manager Charith Senanayake over allegations that the leading Test wicket-taker of all time influenced the preparation of the pitch at the P Sara Oval for Australia's warm-up game against a Sri Lankan XI last week.

SLC also accused Muralitharan of overseeing a training session at Pallekele without permission, prompting the cricket board to take their grievances up with Cricket Australia.

Muralitharan is quoted by Cricinfo as saying: "Charith has accused [me] and told the media that I have cut the grass on the pitch to help Australia's spin bowlers to take the wickets in the three-day game. That's a lie.

"When I met him I asked him: 'We played together and respected each other, why are you telling lies?'. He told me that they have just made an inquiry.

"The Tamil Union wicket was made at the time by Janaka Sampath, who is the SLC board curator. They should clarify from him what actually happened, rather than going on rumour."

Sri Lanka great Sangakkara backed his former team-mate and is optimistic the two parties can resolve any differences.

He tweeted: "Murali is a great son of Sri Lanka and he doesn't have to defend himself. He loves his country. He is free to consult or coach anyone. 

"If SLC had ever asked him to coach Sri Lanka he always will. His consultancy with anyone is a way he can give back to the game. He has given his best to his country on the field and off. He is always available for his country, all they have to do is ask.

"We shud [sic] be proud of him. If any Sri Lankan spinner walks up to Muri and asks him about bowling he will be the first to spend as much time as needed to help. Free.

"If there are any major issues I am sure that @OfficialSLC can sit with Murali and iron them out."