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IPL: Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori turning in tandem in Dubai

Dubai: It was a moment to savour at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Academy on Friday when two of the world’s greatest spinners: Muttiah Muralitharan and Daniel Vettori were seen bowling in tandem on the practice pitches of the academy.

The two gems of the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) team were the star attraction with most of their batting stars yet to joint the team.

Reaching the venue in a mini bus instead of the huge luxury coach that has been arranged for all the teams, due to the few members of the team, RCB trained under the watchful eyes of their new head coach and former New Zealand captain Vettori.

Vettori had told the media on taking over: “Having been closely associated with RCB for the last three years, I’m excited by the opportunity to work with this exceptional brand and Virat Kohli in delivering on RCB’s true potential.”

The bowling was supervised by none other than their bowling coach, the legendary South African pacer Allan Donald. Muralitharan, who has many fans here, commented: “We are all happy to be in Dubai. For me it very special feeling as I am returning to Dubai after long time.”

The 41-year-old spinner, one of the world’s highest wicket-taker with 800 Test wickets, said: “Those days, I used to play a lot of matches at Sharjah and enjoyed it thoroughly.”

Muralitharan also expressed his happiness over the new players that have joined the team. “I hope our team has a great tour of UAE and it will be nice if we can win at least four out of our five matches here. I welcome the new bunch of cricketers to the team and hope we have great success in this tour.”

Though the India’s star batsman and RCB captain Virat Kohli was not present, some of rising stars worked hard with the coaches. Indian pacer Ashok Dinda bowled full out with Donald keeping a close watch and providing tips. Also present was Nick Maddinson, the young Australian batsman who has been making waves in Australian domestic cricket with huge scores.

Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh, the two cricketers who can transform the course of any T20 match with their whirlwind batting, were not present. Much is expected off Sandeep Warrier, a young right-arm medium pacer who has been picking wickets with ease in Ranji Trophy matches.

Kohli’s superb performance in the recent World Twenty20 Cup has been an inspiring one for the whole team which also has AB De Villiers, Parthiv Patel and India-Under-19 captain Vijay Zol. Some players also used the gymnasium at the Academy. With lots of expatriates from Goa living in UAE, their left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati is expected to get a lot of support from the Goans here.