Tonight chimes in the return of the KFC T20 Big Bash League for its second season, which kicks off with a mouth-watering showdown between cross-town rivals Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades.
A bumper crowd is expected at Etihad Stadium as the BBL02 unveils a taste of its marquee players set to light up the summer of Australian cricket.
Undisputed spin-kings Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan will represent the Stars and the Renegades respectively and spoke about tonight and the tournament to come.
“I’m ready to go.” Warne said.
“I think Murali has played in a few T20 comps over the past six months but no I feel ready to go there was a good vibe amongst all the Stars boys at training this morning, we’re ready to start playing.”
“It's always tough for the batsmen when you're facing Murali. He really adds something to the tournament you know it's great and there are so many other great players playing for the two sides, it's going to be a fantastic game.”
“Having Murali there weaving his magic, it should be a bit of fun.”
Asked of the training and the lead up to tonight's game, Warne said: “They love their sport here in Melbourne they’ve got some massive sporting events through the calendar year and the Melbourne rivalry between the Renegades and the Stars was started last year, we had a couple of good games and are looking forward to this year already.”
“You know to kick off the tournament in the way the big bash is going to, they’ve got a very good side and so have we. It should be good entertainment and good cricket tomorrow.”
Sri Lankan cult figure Muttiah Muralitharan was asked of his decision to play in the BBL02 and how his preparation was progressing.
“I’ve been playing a little cricket over the last six months but the last three months I haven’t played anything. I’ve had a bit of practice so I think I’m ok to go.”
“This may be my last year playing T20. So I got the opportunity to play in Australia so I decided I’d come and play.”
Melbourne’s Sri Lankan community is expected to turn out in droves to see both Murali and the Stars own Lasith Malinga put on a show; asked who they’re likely to follow Murali replied: “Maybe I might be a little more popular.”
“No, They will come and support the game of cricket rather than anything else. They will be interested to see how we do as Sri Lankans.”
“Hopefully Etihad stadium will be full.”
The last match between these two teams attracted a crowd of 40,227 at the MCG in a clash that saw the Stars claim local derby bragging rights in a rained out affair under the Duckworth Lewis system. With forecasts looking clear for today, we won’t have to wait long to do it again… This time we’ll do it properly.