Muralitharan's problems with Australian crowds February 12, 2006

Ranatunga urges Murali not to play in Australia


Arjuna Ranatunga argues with the umpire after Muralitharan was called for throwing at Adelaide in 1999 © Getty Images

Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, has said that Muttiah Muralitharan should stop playing in Australia because of crowd taunts over his action in the ongoing VB Series.

"If I had been the captain or manager I would have asked Murali to pack his bags and go home and take some rest as there is a limit to everything," Ranatunga said. "If the Australians can't respect good cricket they don't deserve to see the best in action. I blame the Australian media for the public reaction. There are some cheerleaders in the Australian media and it's a sad situation."

Ranatunga had once protested and almost walked out with his team from the Adelaide Oval in 1999 after Australian umpire Ross Emerson no-balled Muralitharan in a one-day international against England.

Ranatunga added, "Murali had decided not to tour Australia two years back but reversed his decision when he wanted to play a charity match for tsunami victims. But if this is the reception he's getting, there's no point in going there over and over again."

Muralitharan has bagged 584 Test wickets and more than 400 in one-dayers, and underwent voluntary tests in Perth earlier this month in a bid to prove that his elbow flexion was below the allowed 15-degree limit.

"I can't understand why Murali went for those tests when he has been cleared by the International Cricket Council. Obviously, there's a campaign against him in Australia and there's no point in proving them wrong because they've got vested interests."