|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
January 31, 2012
Muttiah Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in Test and ODI cricket, will be back at Gloucestershire this year to play a part in the county's Friends Life t20 campaign. The Sri Lanka offspinner, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup final, has most recently turned out for Wellington in New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 competition, the HRV Cup.
Muralitharan was Gloucestershire's joint most-successful bowler in the Friends Provident t20 last season, with 12 wickets - though his presence was not enough to prevent the Gladiators finishing second-bottom in the South Group with four wins from 16. "I thoroughly enjoyed my first FLt20 season with Gloucestershire and I am looking forward to returning to the club," he said.
The 39-year-old took his 800th wicket with his final ball in Test cricket, in 2010. He has also taken a record 534 ODI wickets and was a part of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning team. In Twenty20 cricket, he has claimed 122 victims at an average of 20.18 and with an economy rate of 6.37. He was part of Chennai Super Kings' successful run to the biggest prize in domestic Twenty20, the Champions League, in 2010.
"As a side we are delighted that Murali is returning," Gloucestershire's director of cricket, John Bracewell, said. "His experience was invaluable last year, given the shortness of the T20 game and the amount of rain-affected matches we had. We did not see the best of what he can offer. I know our players gained a great deal from having Murali in and around our dressing room. His enthusiasm and love for the game, combined with his exceptional skills, are something that will draw any crowd."
Muralitharan could be Gloucestershire's only overseas player in 2012. Finances are tight in Bristol after planning permission to develop Nevil Road was turned down, but the club have signed Dan Housego from Middlesex to fill the number three slot in the County Championship. Kane Williamson, the New Zealand batsman, batted at No. 3 last season, but his potential international assignments in West Indies in June-July, and Gloucestershire's tight budget, make his return to the county unlikely.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
The controversy surrounding the IPL has done little to deter fans in UAE from flocking the stadiums, as they gear up to watch the Indian stars in action for the first time since 2006
ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance
The Plays of the day from the match between Kolkata and Mumbai, in Abu Dhabi
It's difficult to beat a huge talent base exposed to good facilities, and possessed of a long history of competing as a nation
The Plays of the day from the match between Chennai and Punjab in Abu Dhabi
Two talented young West Indies batsmen, full of promise when they arrived on the scene, are in danger of falling by the wayside
A coach and former first-class cricketer outlines his vision for how to turn the game around in the UK
If they are to live up to their potential in next year's World Cup at home, they need to look within and search for inspiration pronto