CA urges fans to respect Murali

Melbourne, June 29 (PTI): Cricket Australia has urged home fans to treat Muttiah Muralitharan with respect when the Sri Lankan off-spinner tours Down Under in his bid to become the highest wicket-taker in the longer version of the game.

Muralitharan, who needs 25 wickets to equal Aussie legend Shane Warne's record of 708, will play two more Tests against Bangladesh before Sri Lanka's tour of Australia.

The ace offie has become a victim of sustained abuse by crowds on previous tours. But, the troubled relationship between Muralitharan and the Aussie crowd was temporarily healed when he visited the country for a tsunami appeal game in 2005.

The CA hoped that this time around Muralitharan would be appreciated by the Australian fans.

"Last year we had Monty Panesar and we were really pleased that he became a cult figure. With Murali coming back, our ambition would be to achieve the same outcome," a CA spokesman was quoted as saying by 'The Age.'

"As Ricky Ponting said, any international cricketer visiting Australia has the right to be treated with respect and in the same manner as Australian players are treated. That is the bottom line," the spokesman said, adding "our message to the public will be 'please treat all visitors with the respect they deserve. If you don't the consequences go through to the possibility of life bans from venues."

The CA has toughened the conditions of entry and security adviser Sean Carroll will lead a police team to London this month to help improve venue security around the country.

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