The team bus had an unlikely occupant.  In fact, coach Tom Moody was astonished when he saw the first cricketer entering the vehicle. Some younger members of the Uthura Rudras team were leaving for an optional practice session on Monday morning and off-spin wizard Muralitharan was among the mix.

Moody revealed, “I asked him why was he joining the youngsters for what was only an optional practice session? He answered ‘Coach, I want to get an extra half an hour of bowling at the nets.”

The 46-year-old Australian revealed, “I was taken aback by the man’s commitment.  He had a game only the previous night and most cricketers as big and experienced as him, who have retired from international cricket, would have given the optional training a miss. Actually, he ended up bowling for 45 minutes.”

Moody, sharing his thoughts here on Tuesday, said, “That is Muralitharan for you. He might be 40 but his passion and love for the game have just not diminished.  He is still hungry for success.”

Indeed, Muralitharan’s quest with excellence continues.  Said Moody about the only bowler in Test history with 800 wickets. “I shared great moments with him as the Sri Lanka coach and it is wonderful to be working with Murali again. He is a fantastic person and a terrific competitor.”

Focussing on the transition period for the Sri Lankan team, he observed, “India is trying to fit the youngsters into the team while Sri Lanka has the youngsters.”

Talking about the Mahindra Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL), Moody said, “There is interest and excitement here. On sheer size and scale, the IPL is 50 times bigger.

“But the people here, like in India, love their cricket and that is an evener.”

For Moody, the SLPL is both a challenge and an opportunity.

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