Cricket: Computer phobia could halt Murali's UK move

Sri Lanka's legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is struggling to qualify to play English county cricket this year - because he is scared of computers and examinations.

A recent change in Britain's work visa rules means the world record holder must prove his English language skills at an examination to secure a permit to play for Gloucestershire in June.

"I have a visitor's visa (for Britain) till 2013, but I have to sit for an exam now to work there," he told reporters on Tuesday, adding he was scared to write his exams on a computer.
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"I don't know how to use computers."

Asked if he was frightened of the computer or the exam, he said: "Both."

"I last sat for exams in 1988 and passed six subjects for my (General Certificate of Education) Ordinary Levels. I left school afterwards. All I wanted to do was to play cricket."

Muralitharan, who turns 39 this month, quit international cricket after Sri Lanka's defeat in the World Cup final against India on Saturday with a record 800 Test and 534 one-day wickets under his belt.

Despite his aversion to computers, Muralitharan runs several charities which fund IT training, maintains schools and donates supplies to thousands of underprivileged children.

"I need about $100,000 each year for school books, uniforms, shoes and supplies to distribute to 20,000 children," he said.

His Foundation for Goodness charity is also raising cash to build a $5 million sporting facility, school and IT lab in the island's north to help thousands of war-displaced civilians.

An ethnic Tamil, Muralitharan runs a similar project in the island's Sinhala-dominated south that was affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami.

He plans to travel to Australia, Malaysia and the US to raise money from the expatriate Tamil community and well wishers.

"All my life it has been cricket. Now its my turn to help people less fortunate than me."

- AFP

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