Chennai, July 16: Legendary Sri Lanka bowler Muttiah Muralitharan has welcomed franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) back into Indian Premier League (IPL) fold.
The legendary spinner, who was part of the CSK franchise, said, "I have been associated with the team for quite a long time. But in the near future, if I again get an opportunity to work with CSK, I will enthusiastically do it."
Muralitharan also said that India and Tamil Nadu off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has improved a lot and is a smart cricketer.
"Ashwin has improved a lot in the recent past. He played really well in the recent matches. He has the experience and talent to showcase his skills in the upcoming ones. In fact, according to me, he is a smart cricketer. Looking forward to seeing his performance," he told reporters on the sidelines of a Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) event.
Muralitharan, who holds the record for most Test wickets, however, said the Lanka team's performances in the recent time were not very good.
"I am happy that the present Sri Lankan team is absolutely new. But I can notice the team is slacking a bit in overall performance these days. They should solve all their problems themselves and build on the reputation of the team. The retirement of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and myself both from Test and ODI cricket has weakened the team but they need to move on," he said.
He said he was looking forward to his role as the mentor of TNPL franchise VB Thiruvallur Veerans and hoped to guide the young players to the best of his ability.
"I am happy to be a part of this wonderful team. All the players have got a great opportunity to showcase their skills in the upcoming league matches. Though I am not a full-fledged coach, I will surely guide them in the best possible manner," he added.
To a question as to why spinners were doing better when compared to the pacers, he said, "Spinners always have a lot of opportunity in cricket. But to be honest, the world has a lot of highly talented spinners which is the actual reason."
He also spoke about his association with Tamil Nadu and said, "I always prefer to be here. My grand parents are from Namakkal and I am also, right now, doing business in Tiruchirappalli. Many of my relatives are also from the state.
(With inputs from agencies)