CHENNAI: Muttiah Muralitharan is back in these parts, this time as mentor of Thiruvallur Veerans in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). He has fond memories of playing for Chennai Super Kings and working with VB Chandrasekar, who was part of the think tank of the IPL franchise in the initial years.
Murali feels at home here also because of the fact that his wife Madhimalar hails from Chennai and their son Naren trains in the city. “I was picked in the inaugural IPL by CSK. I have a bonding with the city and the fans. Plus, I got to know VB. My son trains at his academy. So I thought why not be part of Thiruvallur Veerans,” said the Sri Lankan spin legend on Saturday.
“I’m just the mentor, Bharathi Arun is our coach. I’ll talk to the boys, encourage them and create awareness on important factors. My job will be to explain to them their roles as far as the team is concerned and also individually. A team should follow one command and for that we have Arun. If the boys want to learn from me, I’ll share my experience.”
Any specific area that he would like to work? “Focus will be on winning games. It’s about getting momentum, preparing the boys to compete with the other teams and bringing the best out of them,” said the man with 800 Test wickets.
Murali believes his experience in a similar role at Sunrisers Hyderabad will come in handy and he does not see it as a burden coaching or mentoring various teams. “At Sunrisers, I was coach plus mentor. The time, format and duration is such that one can’t do one-to-one coaching with every player. The objective is to plan, back the capable players and take them in the right direction.
We don’t change their techniques, but offer advice on how to do better.” Murali is pleased that CSK is back in the IPL, but not sure of any role at the moment. “I have a long-term contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad. In the future, if an opportunity arises, one doesn’t know. CSK was one of the best teams.”
Will CSK be the same force it was? “It’ll be difficult, not the same as one thinks.
You will have to start from scratch. For years, they kept their key players, but now the team is all scattered. I don’t know what rules and regulations are with regards to retaining players. But they have a smart enough management staff and might get some good players. It may not be the same to start with, but will become good with time,” opined Muralitharan.