Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, who has more international wickets than any other player in history, is the sixth and final international franchise player for this year’s Caribbean Premier League.
Universally known as Murali, he boasts 1,347 wickets across the Test, One-Day International and Twenty20 International formats in an international career spanning 20 years. And now he will line up in the inaugural franchise-based tournament in six countries in July and August.
“I am really looking forward to playing in the first ever CPL – it is going to be a fantastic spectacle for the fans and a great experience for all the players involved,” Murali said.
“I am good friends with a number of the West Indies players, especially Chris Gayle as we play together in the Indian Premier League and having the chance to play on a team with guys competing in their home countries will be fantastic for me.
“I am also excited that there will be so many young West Indies players involved in the tournament and I hope to pass on some of my cricketing experiences as the tournament progresses. I can’t wait for it to get started.”
The 41 year-old Sri Lankan, currently playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, slots in along with other international stars Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist from Australia, New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, Pakistan T20I captain Mohammad Hafeez and Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa as confirmed big-name signings.
Also confirmed are six West Indies franchise players – Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels.
The player draft takes place on 24 May will determine who will be playing where, with six franchises to be announced based in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Murali’s hauls of 800 Test wickets and 534 wickets in ODIs may never be surpassed and he is one of only two bowlers, along with fellow spinner Shane Warne, to have topped 1,000 wickets in international cricket.
His Test haul includes 67 five-wicket hauls and 22 instances of 10 wickets in a match, and he also has 10 five-wicket hauls in ODIs.
Twenty20 International cricket arrived toward the end of his international career, but he still captured 13 wickets in his 12 matches in that format at a superb economy rate of 6.31 runs per over.
Murali’s outstanding control of line, length and flight and his ability to spin the ball both ways have made him a sought-after player in the shortest form of the game all over the world.