Cricket: Lancashire secure magic of Muralitharan
Wednesday 09 September 1998
Muralitharan, who was pursued by two other counties, including Kent, has signed a one-season contract and will report to Old Trafford when Sri Lanka's World Cup commitments come to an end next summer. He will only be available to play half of Lancashire's Championship matches and two thirds of their one-day games and could be called away again at the end of the season for Sri Lanka's home Test series against Australia.
Wasim, meanwhile, has announced himself open to offers from other counties after Lancashire's decision: "If someone wanted to sign me for next year and the year 2000 then that would be great, but I don't want to hang around playing after that," he said. "I've had some fantastic times with Lancashire and I'm going to miss the place so much, the club, the dressing-room and being part of it all. I don't think I've got a single bad memory of my time here.
"I wanted to stay but they decided on Murali, which is fine by me, and if we can win our third trophy at the end of the season then that would be a dream come true.
"Muralitharan is one of the best off-spinners in the world and there is no doubt he's a match-winner. I think he will fit in well in the Lancashire dressing-room because he's very bubbly and he's always laughing," Wasim said.
Muralitharan produced one of the great performances in Test history earlier this month by claiming 16 wickets for 220 runs, the fifth-best figures of all time, to help Sri Lanka complete an emphatic 10-wicket victory over England at The Oval. He has taken 68 wickets in eight Tests this year - more than any other player.
Leicestershire's hopes of winning a second County Championship title in three years are being threatened by an injury to Alan Mullally their fast left-arm bowler - and the unpredictable English weather. Mullally, who will tour Australia this winter with England, could miss his side's penultimate game against bottom of the table Essex at Grace Road today with a calf strain. He will have a fitness test this morning before a decision is made. James Ormond is standing by.
Essex, champions in 1996, lead Surrey - who they face at The Oval in the final game of the season next week - by five points, with treble-chasing Lancashire three points back in third.
Rain and high winds are expected in the Leicester area over the next four days and the Leicestershire manager, Jack Birkenshaw, said: "It's becoming an exciting finish to the season but because of the weather forecast, things are very much in the lap of the Gods. Hopefully, we'll get a fortnight's decent weather for everyone and may the best team win.
"It's in our hands now and we've got to play like we can. Essex have got some useful players and they'll be looking to redeem themselves after losing the Sunday League. They certainly won't roll over."
At the Riverside, Durham take on Surrey with the 26-year-old Martin Saggers given his first appearance of the season. He takes over from Marc Symington, who made his Championship debut against Derbyshire, while Steve Harmison returns in place of Neil Killeen, who suffered a knee injury against Glamorgan on Sunday.
Gloucestershire are expected to keep faith with the side that defeated Northamptonshire inside two days as they aim to keep their faint Championship title hopes alive against Middlesex at Lord's today.
The Bristol club are in fourth place, 21 points behind Leicestershire, and their attack will be spearheaded by Courtney Walsh, who has 89 first- class wickets and is looking to take 100 in a season for the second time.
Yorkshire's Darren Gough will again be on the injured list as Dickie Bird umpires in his final first-class match when Warwickshire visit Headingley. Brian Lara, the visiting captain, is out of the game with an injured left knee, and is replaced by Trevor Penney.
Shane Warne, the Australian leg-spinner, hopes to be fit for the first Ashes Test against England in late November. He said the progression of his reconstructed shoulder was ahead of schedule.
Latest in Sport
US Open 2014: Roger Federer vs Roberto Bautista Agut match preview
Danny Welbeck joins Arsenal: Welbeck joins growing British core among Arsenal squad - but it wasn't always this homely
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal triggers United upheaval as 13 players leave club since manager arrived
Chelsea completed transfers: A profile of the new arrivals including Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Loic Remy
- 1 David Sedaris: What I learnt from Fitbit about the world around me
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: 'It's only rape if the victim is conscious'
- 5 Katie Hopkins in tears over weight gain challenge: ‘I hate fat people for making me do this’
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates based on experience: Randstad E...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Client-Side...
£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are urgently looking for an ex...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education are looking for a qua...