Murali puts country ahead of Ranji league

Muttiah Muralitharan said he is yet to sign a contract with Bengal for Ranji Plate League and that his priority will be to represent the country.

updated: September 30, 2008 11:57 IST
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Bengal may be all excited having roped in leading Test wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan to revive its fortune in the Ranji Plate League, but the Sri Lankan off-spinner on Tuesday said he is yet to sign a contract and that his priority will be to represent the country.

Muralitharan said he was still unsure about his availability though the Sri Lankan Cricket Board has given him a go ahead.

The spin wizard is now looking forward to their tour of Zimbabwe in November which means Bengal's hopes for getting the off-spinner for the league round is highly unlikely.

"I am looking forward to our tour to Zimbabwe beginning November 7. Then, in February-March we play in Bangladesh, so it remains to be seen whether I am at all available for Bengal."

He said that he has been contracted with the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Chennai Super Kings for three years so he is committed to them also. The inaugural Champions Twenty20 League will be held from December 3-10.

The group phase of the Ranji Trophy Plate League is scheduled from November 3-December 4 with Bengal playing five games before the knock-out stages.

Asked how Bengal managed to clinch a deal with him, Muralitharan said, "I am yet to sign a contract with them (Bengal)... I was contacted by Jeet Banerjee (managing director of GamePlan), who told me that Bengal are in 'second division' this time and they need my services to get into the 'first division'.