During a chat with Muttiah Muralitharan on his Instagram show, Ravichandran Ashwin revealed how the Sri Lanka legend stopped him from bowling leg-spin when the duo were playing together for Chennai Super Kings in the early seasons of IPL.
During the interaction, Murali revealed that he himself bowled leg-spin for a few years during his school days, as Ruwan Kalpage, also a Sri Lanka cricketer, was an off-spinner and there was another Test spinner in the same age-group. According to Murali, with two spinners playing in the team, there was no chance for him to get a place. So for variation, he bowled leg-spin for a few days and got selected for a season.
Ashwin went on to add that Murali’s words reminded him of his U-19 cricket days when Murali had told him. “Why are you bowling leg-spin? Bowl off-spin, you do that very well.”
Murali responded, “Me bowling leg-spin was to get into the U-19 side. Now you are going to try and play for India and the selectors say they only want leg spinners, the onus is on experience. Only when you take wickets, you will get confidence. It’s about proving yourself. Not just proving yourself by bowling leg-spin. Instead, take more wickets by bowling off-spin that’s a challenge.”
He went on to add that he was dropped from one-dayers but even then he did not bowl leg-spin.
“I challenged them with my off-spin and took wickets. So I thought you forgot that challenge, that’s why I said it,” he added.
Muralitharan has been under scrutiny for his bowling action multiple times in his career. The famed bowler even revealed that he wanted to be a fast bowler as a youngster. However, when he reached the U13 levels his coach told him that he was not going to get any taller, so fast bowling wasn't meant to be his thing.
“Bowl off-spin instead, he said, and taught me. The first ball I bowled spun because I automatically put my wrist into it,” he added.
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