Asian tsunami charity match a huge sellout
Murali gets green light Down Under
By S.R. Pathiravithana in Melbourne
Unlike the previous occasions the champion Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is one of the most welcome guests Down Under for the Asian Tsunami Charity match which is already a huge sell out. The match will be against the Asian Xl vs the Rest of the World which will be played at the MCG tomorrow (Monday).

Muralitharan who previously said that he intended not playing in Australia and skipped Sri Lanka's previous two Test tour of Australia last June broke his self imposed ban to come out for this worthy cause which has held entire world agape. Muralitharan who was also out of the game through injury will be making his international comeback at this game.

First it was the Australian Test leg spinner Shane Warne (who also has come out of a self imposed ODI retirement to take part in this game) came out welcoming the Lankan off spinner. He said "The charity match is a fantastic way for the World cricket community to show its support for the tsunami victims".

Then Warne also added "I have another favour for our sports loving community. Make sure that Murali receive a warm welcome from all Australian cricket fans at the MCG. It's not the time or the place to be vocal towards the great Sri Lankan spinner. Personally I will seek out Murali at some stage on Monday and offer help".

English fast bowler Darren Gough the lone England rep in the Rest of the World team was another man moved. He said "After watching TV and seeing Muttaih Muralitharan giving out food parcels to the victims of Tsunami, and if he comes out to bat number eleven and the Asian Xl had one run to get I may possibly give it."

Gough could have been in the devastated area, had he decided to take the Christmas holiday. He said " Air Malaysia is one my sponsors, so I get my holidays there."

The World Cricket authority dispelled any doubt about the competitive edge about the game yesterday when it gave the ODI status to this game. The ICC Executive Board endorsed the move to ensure the scores and records stand.

The second charity match will be played in either Sri Lanka or India next month. South African Rudi Koertzen and Kiwi Billy Bowden will stand at this game. Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar and Sohaib Aktar pulled out of the game through injury.


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