Legendary Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has acknowledged the pivotal role played by the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the evolution of Indian cricket. Having been a part of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning team under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga, Muralitharan subsequently featured in two more World Cup finals—in 2007 against Australia and in 2011 against India, which marked his final international appearance.
The influence of Indian Premier League
In an exclusive conversation with ANI, Muralitharan highlighted the profound impact of the IPL on Indian cricket. He attributed the IPL with being a breeding ground for a wealth of cricketing talent that has significantly contributed to the strength and depth of Indian cricket.
“It (IPL) has given players something to look forward to. It has given them a lot of money and opportunities. IPL has given a lot of talent to India as well. There are so many talented players. Now, like the IPL, many leagues like the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) have started. Players from here get selected to play IPL as well. Indian cricket is in good shape because of IPL,” Muralitharan said.
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Muttiah Muralitharan identifies top contenders
The Kandy-born cricketer further shared his astute observations and unveiled his top four favourites to win the ODI World Cup 2023. He highlighted India’s distinct advantage of playing on home turf, enjoying unwavering support from passionate crowds at every venue. Muralitharan also identified Australia, England and Pakistan as formidable contenders for the coveted championship.
“In this World Cup, the advantage is more to India and the reason is that it is a very good side. Then they have a home advantage; billion people positive waves, wherever you go you see Indian crowd and it gives a boost to the players….I think they are the biggest favorite and then Australia will be a favorite, England will be a favourite and Pakistan can also be a favourite. Four favorites, I am picking,” the 51-year-old added.
The unpredictable element of luck
Muralitharan emphasized the element of luck, which often plays a pivotal role in securing victory in major tournaments, citing England’s triumph in the 2019 World Cup.
“You have to have luck, it is important. England won the last World Cup out of luck or New Zealand would have won that World Cup,” he concluded.
It is worth noting that the last time the World Cup graced Indian shores in 2011, MS Dhoni led the Indian team to a glorious victory. Since then, the host nations have consistently clinched the title, with Australia in 2015 and England in 2019, further enhancing India’s standing as strong contenders for the impending tournament.
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