'First six matches, I couldn't get into the XI but then Kumble gave me a chance'

Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan narrated how it was difficult for him to even get into the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) XI in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Muralitharan credited former India captain and head coach Anil Kumble for giving him the chance to feature in the RCB XI. 

“First six games I could not get in the playing XI but then Kumble gave me a chance for one match and I performed it well. From there I played all six games and I did really well,” Muralitharan told Aakash Chopra in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.

Muralitharan also revealed that it was Kumble who had called him up ahead of IPL 13 to get him on board. The former off-spinner who has more than 1300 international wickets, had announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in 2011. 

“At that time I was retired from international cricket. So I was not playing. Anil (Anil Kumble) called me and asked if I was fit and still playing. We would like to have you. I said Anil if you could give me the opportunity I will do my best. But that is up to you,” Muralitharan said. 

Muralitharan, who had played regularly for the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings since in the inception of IPL in 2008, said two other franchises were interested in him but RCB picked him up in the auction. 

“Two franchises were interested I think. Anil picked me in the auctions so I went to RCB,” he said. 

RCB was at that time being led by former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, who later on stepped down to make Virat Kohli the skipper. 

Muralitharan explained how it was difficult to get into the RCB side as an overseas cricketer as they had the likes of Vettori, AB de Villiers, and Chris Gayle.

“At first, I played at Chinnaswamy Stadium. They already had an overseas spinner in Vettori and had players like Gayle, AB de Villiers. So how can I get in the side.

“The second season also went pretty well. In the third season, I was injured because of my groin. It was 2014 and I thought it was enough. Also, I was injured and not performing that well,’ Murali added. 

Source: Hindustan Times

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