New Zealand news May 14, 2011

Didn't pay above the odds for Murali - Larsen

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gavin Larsen, chief executive of Cricket Wellington said that the province hadn't "paid above the odds" to secure the services of former Sri Lanka offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

"He was very affordable and comparable to what the other key overseas players have received in New Zealand," Larsen told the Dominion Post. Wellington have signed Murali for next season's domestic Twenty20 tournament.

"He's a really good bloke and he loves New Zealand. He'll bring his family out and he's really keen from a lifestyle point of view, and keen to contribute on and off the park," Larsen added.

New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 competition will run from late December through early January. Larsen said Murali could also play a one-day or Plunket Shield game if schedules permitted.

Meanwhile, Jamie Siddons, whose coaching contract with the Bangladesh national side ended after the World Cup, remains in contention to become the next coach of Wellington after Anthony Stuart vacated the role at the end of the 2010-11 season. Siddons was interviewed on Thursday by Larsen, high performance manager Robbie Kerr, board representative Mark Heisenbuttel, captain and players' association representative Grant Elliott and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) director of cricket John Buchanan.

"I'm definitely keen to talk to them again," Siddons said. "There's a lot of things to chat about if they want me to do the job. We obviously need to agree on terms but I'm pretty comfortable, pretty keen to do the job.

"I'm waiting to see what transpires with the Australian team and the fielding coach position, but that's a fair way off yet and I'm not putting all my eggs in that basket," he said. Siddons was Buchanan's assistant coach with Australia.

Siddons, however, remained non-committal over Wellington's decision to sign Murali. "That's good ... well, I hope it's good. I'll have to think that one through. I probably have some thoughts but I don't want to discuss them.

"It wouldn't put me off the job but it would be nice to be in the job and have some say in those types of appointments, for sure."

Larsen, though, felt the signing of Murali ahead of the coach's appointment would not be an issue. "I certainly hope not. I wouldn't like to think that any new coach would balk at Murali's name," he said.

Larsen confirmed that former England batsman Matthew Maynard, who is being linked to the post of assistant coach with India, was also interviewed in the last week.