Sri Lankan greats Muralitharan, Jayawardene join Team Rugby for T20 Black Clash

Kiwi fans are in for a treat in the T20 Black Clash in Napier, with legendary Sri Lankan duo Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan confirmed to turn out for Team Rugby.

Muttiah Muralitharan bowls against the Black Caps Source: Photosport

Two of the biggest names in cricket during their playing days, the duo will play for Sir Graham Henry's Team Rugby, as they take on Stephen Fleming's Team Cricket in Napier on January 17.

Off-spinner Muralitharan, 47, took 800 wickets in Test cricket, still the most by any bowler in the history of the game, along with 534 ODI scalps.

Jayawardene, 42, meanwhile is one of few batsmen to pass 10,000 runs in both Test and ODI cricket.

He has also played over 200 T20 matches in domestic leagues around the world.

Team Rugby coach Sir Graham Henry pointed out that despite their status as two of cricket's greats, both hold rugby dear to their hearts.

"These guys wouldn't be playing for us unless they had a rugby pedigree," Sir Graham said.

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"To have a couple of Sri Lankan rugby players who can play a bit of cricket is going to be quite handy for us."

Meanwhile, Team Cricket coach Stephen Fleming also looks forward to the challenge of going up against two former opponents.

"Murali still gives me nightmares, so having him pop up again is a real concern," admitted Team Cricket coach and captain Stephen Fleming.

"And last time I played Mahela he got a hundred in a World Cup semi-final. You couldn't ask for two better pros."

TVNZ 1 will have coverage of the second T20 Black Clash, from Napier's McLean Park on January 17.


Team Rugby: Richie McCaw, Israel Dagg, Jason Spice, Ofisa Tonu'u, Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Aaron Smith, Brad Weber, Kaylum Boshier, Derren Witcombe, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene.

Team Cricket: Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Nathan Astle, Grant Elliott, Jacob Oram, Hamish Marshall, Chris Harris, Kyle Mills, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Mathew Sinclair.