Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, currently with Rajasthan Royals as their director of cricket, shared an interesting anecdote regarding Muttiah Muralitharan. The former wicketkeeper revealed how the off-spinner used to practice spot-bowling for hours to the extent that the coach had to literally snatch the ball out of Muralitharan's hands.
Rajasthan Royals' Twitter handle has shared this story where Kumar Sangakkara explained how Muttiah Muralitharan practised spot bowling so much so that he could even land the ball in the right spot with his eyes closed on matchday.
"Murali used to come every day to training, and he bowled few minutes at the stumps as spot bowling, then he continued bowling in the nets at all the batsmen, then he would finish off with some more spot bowling, and this was a couple of hours non-stop bowling. It came to a stage where the coach really had to tell him to stop and had to forcefully take the ball away from him. And I used to watch him, a guy who has taken 600 wickets, what is he still doing, bowling this much?" Kumar Sangakkara said.
Kumar Sangakkara added how Muralitharan gained confidence from improving his muscle memory by bowling constantly.
"So, I went up to him and asked him. Why are you doing this? You have taken so many wickets; you really don't need to practice this hard. And I still remember to this date the answer that he gave me. He just simply turned to me and said, 'Sanga, it doesn't matter how many wickets I have taken, what's really important to me is that I continue to bowl and train as hard as I ever did, because with my practice, with my spot bowling at the batsmen, I get into a habit where I know I can go to a match and even if I have my eyes closed, and I am running to bowl a ball, I can pitch the ball exactly where I want to pitch it.'
Kumar Sangakkara continued:
And he said that was where he got his confidence from, not with his extravagant turn or doosra but that training, that muscle memory, and he said that's why he is training so hard," the 43-year-old added.
A clip of Muralitharan flipping a coin off a glass with the ball spoke volumes about the legendary off-spinner's accuracy.
Muralitharan is arguably one of the greatest bowlers to have played the game, claiming 1347 wickets in international cricket. The off-spinner is currently working with Sunrisers Hyderabad as their bowling coach.
Exciting to know that I will be working with a legend like Kumar Sangakkara: Sanju Samson
New Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson recently shared his excitement about working with Kumar Sangakkara. The Indian wicketkeeper-batsman said that it is a dream for him to be able to work with the Sri Lankan legend.
"My first memory of Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara) is definitely his cover-drive, and I loved his batting. This is a dream come true, and it was very exciting to know that I will be working so closely with a legend like Kumar Sangakkara," Sanju Samson said.
Rajasthan Royals will play their opening encounter against the Punjab Kings on April 12 at the Wankhede Stadium. The franchise will be keen to perform well after finishing rock bottom at last season's IPL in UAE.