Gloucestershire snap up Murali
Gloucestershire have pulled off a major coup with the signing of Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Muralitharan - the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket with 800 scalps at an average of 22.72, and a record 519 at 23.18 in ODIs - has agreed a two-year deal at Bristol to play exclusively in the Friends Provident t20.
The 38-year-old played his final Test last July and is to retire from all international cricket at the end of the upcoming World Cup on the sub-continent.
Muralitharan said: "I am really looking forward to playing for Gloucestershire. It is a young exciting team and I hope I can add some experience to the mix.
"The last time I played at Bristol I took five wickets and I look forward to an exciting t20 competition with the Gladiators."
Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell added: “This is an exciting and once in a lifetime opportunity to work and play with one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the game.
“Whenever I have watched and observed Murali he has always had and shown an infectious love for the game of cricket. This is something that I personally am looking forward to working with.”
Gloucestershire skipper Alex Gidman is also thrilled by the signing, adding: "This has given us a huge boost going into the 2011 season. I can’t wait to meet and to play with Muttiah Muralitharan.
"From the players' point of view, it will be a great experience and I am sure we will learn a huge amount from him."
With two overseas players permitted in the FPt20, Gloucestershire remain on the lookout for another signing for the summer.