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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 October, 2004, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK
Murali signs for Lancashire
Murali played for Lancashire in 1999 and 2001
Lancashire have signed world record wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan for the first half of the 2005 season.

The Sri Lanka off-spinner rejoins the red rose county for a third spell, having played in 1999 and 2001.

Muralitharan, who holds the Test record of 532 wickets, is currently recovering from shoulder surgery.

Lancashire cricket manager Mike Watkinson said: "It's great to have Murali on board again. He is an obvious leader in world cricket."

International commitments mean Muralitharan has so far only be able to sign for the first part of the season.

Murali must be considered one of the best cricketers to have played the game
Jack Simmons
In his two previous spells at Old Trafford, the 32-year-old took 116 wickets in 14 first-class matches at an average of 15.

But he will find himself playing in Division Two of the County Championship after Lancashire were relegated for the first time in their history.

Chairman Jack Simmons added: "I'm highly delighted to have him at Lancashire for another season.

"He must be considered one of the best cricketers to have played the game."

Muralitharan's arrival could mean the end of former West Indies captain Carl Hooper's career at Lancashire.

Although Lancashire will probably have a space for another overseas player, if Stuart Law is confirmed as a domestically-qualified player, Brad Hodge is being hotly tipped to join.

Murali taking his time
16 Sep 04 |  Cricket
Murali has shoulder surgery
16 Aug 04 |  Cricket
Murali reclaims Test record
06 Aug 04 |  Cricket

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