Sunil Fernando, Coach of Muralidharan and Sangakkara
Had it not been for Sunil Fernando’s advice to Muttiah Muralitharan to be a spinner than a fast bowler, Shane Warne might have been the highest wicket taker in Tests, and Wasim Akram in ODIs. When for the first time he asked Murali to bowl spin, he picked up a fifer in what was his first club game.
Later on, Fernando also became the coach of legendary Kumar Sangakkara. Sangakkara’s father, who was quite impressed by the boys of St. Antony’s College in a match against Trinity College (Sangakkara’s College), asked Fernando if he could take Sangakkara under his guidance.
“I’m impressed with the way your boys played, can you coach my son too?” he asked Fernando. Special permissions were taken and Fernando started coaching Kumar Sangakkara.
Talking to Cricbuzz, Fernando said, “I could see his talent when he was very young. I used to tell him that you’ll become like Steve Waugh, one day (and) now he’s become even bigger. I coached him from his school days until the time he went to the national side. Even now, we discuss cricket sometimes.”
Fernando shaped the careers of the two of the greatest Cricketers Sri Lanka has ever produced, and who would probably walk into any World XI side, but sadly he didn’t get much credit which he deserved.