People were saying different things, but Muttiah Muralitharan has confirmed that he will play "one or two" matches for Bengal in the Ranji Trophy this season.
"It's not possible to play all matches for Bengal as our national team is touring Zimbabwe for five ODIs in November. Country comes first and whenever the board releases me, I will play for Bengal," the spinner told Hindustan Times from Sri Lanka on Monday.
But why Bengal of all teams, for one who has achieved almost everything there is in bowling? "You have to help those who want help. Bengal wanted help and asked me if I could help them earn promotion to the Elite division. I said okay."
The 36-year-old reiterated that he would not play for Bengal at the expense of his national team. "I have to see the international fixtures. Otherwise, why not play cricket elsewhere when the national team is not playing."
The Ranji Trophy Plate Division matches begin on November 6 and go on till December 21 with the final slated for January 7-11. of course, it depends on whether Bengal go through till that stage.
There is another problem of sorts. Muralitharan has to play for the Chennai IPL team in the Champions League Twenty20 meet beginning on December 3. Sri Lanka also tour Bangladesh in January and it remains to be seen if the Ranji Plate final clashes with the tour dates.
The India-Australia Test series starting on Thursday also got the ace spinner interested. And he felt India hold the edge. "India begin with an advantage because they have two good spinners (Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh)."
However, Muralitharan didn't want to get into a discussion on the contentious issue of the Sri Lankan board removing the ban on players who have joined the Indian Cricket League. "I don't know about that. You will have to ask Sri Lanka Cricket."