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NZ seeks Murali’s aid on Lanka tour

Wellington: Test cricket's leading wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan will be asked to pass on his expertise to New Zealand's bowlers and batsmen on their tour of Sri Lanka, the country's head coach has said.

The New Zealand-based members of the team leave for the tour, which includes a Twenty20 match, five one day internationals and two tests, on Thursday with new bowling coach Shane Bond making his first tour with the side.

The former New Zealand paceman was only appointed to the role last week and has had little to do with spin bowlers throughout his career, hence head coach Mike Hesson's decision to seek Muralitharan's help.

The 40-year-old off-spinner retired from the longer form of the game in 2010, capturing his 800th wicket with the final ball of his test career.  

"Obviously Muralitharan lives in Sri Lanka in Colombo and he's someone we've got contacts with," Hesson told reporters at Christchurch airport on Wednesday.

"We haven't been able to firm things up but we're also looking into the possibility of another specialist coach.

"We've got some guys lined up but they add to the mix and help Shane in terms of his development - and also the players.

"We play half of our cricket in the sub-continent and even now the West Indies' conditions are very sub-continental. We'll get exposed to a lot of spin, and in this series 70-80 percent of our overs we face will be spin-based.

"How well we adapt and how well we play them will dictate the outcome."

Local media also reported that former Sri Lankan left arm pace bowler Chaminda Vaas would help Bond work with the attack.

New Zealand have selected three left arm seamers - Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and James Franklin - for the tour, while Jeetan Patel and newcomer Todd Astle are the only specialist spin bowlers in the test squad.

Off-spinner Nathan McCullum and left arm spinner Ronnie Hira have been included in the limited-overs squad, while batsmen Rob Nicol, Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson are handy part-time spinners.

"That (spin bowling) is an area of weakness I think," Bond told Television New Zealand. "In terms of technique, psychology and playing under the pressure it is all the same bowling seam and pace.

"It is probably more getting into the mindset of a spin bowler.

"All I can do is communicate and talk as much as I can with those spin bowlers and still challenge around their plans and what they want to do."

The first match will be the Twenty20 international at Pallekele on October 30.

(Agencies)

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