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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Murali fit for charity match

Murali fit for charity match

January 07, 2005 13:49 IST

Sri Lanka off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has passed himself fit to participate in the fundraising match for tsunami victims between an ICC World XI and an Asian XI in Melbourne on Monday.

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Muralitharan will be returning to international cricket for the first time in five months after shoulder surgery on his bowling arm forced him out of South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka in August.

"The recovery has been going well and I am about 80 percent fit at present and determined to take part in this match, which will hopefully raise millions of dollars worth of much-needed aid," Muralitharan said.

The 32-year-old played in a practice match against the Sri Lanka under-19 team just before Christmas to prove his fitness for the scheduled New Zealand Test series, completing his full quota of 10 overs but failing to take a wicket.

Sri Lanka's tour to New Zealand was abandoned after the first of five one-day internationals when the players opted to return home after the tsunami.

Since the disaster, Muralitharan has not bowled, concentrating his time on relief efforts with the United Nation's World Food Programme and with the Sri Lanka cricket board's Cricket-Aid appeal.

Muralitharan has personally organised the distribution of approximately 200 tonnes of WFP lentils, rice, flour and sugar during two aid convoys to the northern city of Jaffna and east coast towns of Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

After the ICC's fundraising match Muralitharan will return to organise a third food aid convoy, leaving on January 14 to Galle, Matara and Tangalle along the south coast.

Other international cricketers, including West Indies Brian Lara, India's Anil Kumble and England's Andrew Flintoff and Robert Key, have also pledged their support to his charity work.

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