ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 16, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 16

Murali will be ready to take a crack at Shane Warne’s record

By Harry Jayachandra

Dr. David Young

Ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan may be fit to play the final two One Day Internationals against England who are due in Sri Lanka next month. “He has got a muscle tendon junctia tear. I saw on him Friday. His injury is healing quickly and we will be doing another scan next week. But I would advise against rushing him back in especially in view of the fact that he is in a position to break Shane Warne’s world record for the most number of wickets in tests,” said famed orthopedic surgeon David Young.

Dr. Young is no stranger to Sri Lanka. He is a member of both Orthopedic Outreach and the Sri Lanka – Australia Medical Aid Team. Both are charity organizations and Dr. Young visits Sri Lanka two to three times a year and he operates at the National Hospital. He is well known by most Sri Lankan cricketers and Muralitharan in particular. Dr Young has operated on Muralitharan on three previous occasions.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Dr Young said: “Former Sri Lankan coach Dav Whatmore and I have been friends for a long time. When Dav (Whatmore) took over as coach of the Sri Lanka team he asked whether I could recommend a physio as he felt that aspect needed close attention. At the time I had just finished treating a good Greek soccer player who was suffering from an injury called ‘interior cruciate ligament. This guy was also studying to be a physiotherapist at the time. I reconstructed this player’s knee and this guy knew continuing in soccer was going to be dangerous. He expressed a desire to be a physio to athletes after he had finished his exam. He knew nothing about cricket and I jokingly asked him whether he would like to be the physiotherapist for Sri Lankan National Cricket Team. To my utter amazement the guy who is called Alex Kounterie accepted and the rest is history.”

Dr Young added: “Alex (Kounterie) learned the game in Sri Lanka and is now good bowler in his own right. He returned to Australia to spend more time with his family. But the irony is, shortly after he arrived Australia lost their physio to a rugby league team owned by the famous actor Russell Crowe of Gladiator fame. Thus he is now traveling all over the world with the Australian team.”

Speaking more about Muralitharan, Dr. Young said: “I would love to see him break Warne’s record in the two Tests against Australia, which is after the one day internationals against the English team. Getting a record like this is akin to winning a gold medal in the Olympics. Though this injury is not serious it can continue for some time as it occurs due to over use. Thus the player concerned must completely get over the injury. I do not have a problem with Muralitharan playing in one day internationals. That is where his audience is. And you cannot blame his county because playing in England is a good experience. In addition a player must do the maximum. In Australia, for example, in order to encourage players who do not represent state sides, to play back to back seasons.”

Many people say that Dr. Young is more of a Sri Lankan than an Australian. In conclusion Dr Young said: “When the tsunami hit Sri Lanka three years ago I went around the affected areas with Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. As you well know these three guys are from different religions. The whole country came together. The racial and religious divide was crossed. Muralitharan was at the helm of the ship. Some time later I was personally hurt and was sad to see some material being written against Muralitharan. I know him and his family personally. He is a wonderful person both on and off the field. The only criticism I have against him is that he does not take his batting seriously enough. I even met his son, who ironically loves to bat even at his tender age. I really want to see Muralitharan break Warne’s record in Australia.”

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