Retired Sri Lankan spin-wizard Muttiah Muralitharan was the star attraction when players representing various Airtel Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) franchise teams attended a coaching clinic at a school in Parkmore, Johannesburg, on Tuesday.
With just 30 days to go for the CLT20, there was excitement in the air, as over 100 children jostled to get the attention of their heroes, which included South African stars Makhaya Ntini, Albie Morkel, JP Duminy, Alviro Petersen, Justin Kreush, Jean Symes, Werner Coetzee, Wayne Parnell and Ryan McLaren.
Murali, who will be representing the Chennai Super Kings n the CLT20, enjoyed interacting with the children.
"It's fantastic to be in South Africa. I always love playing here," he said.
"SA have proven that they can host big tournaments before and I am sure the 2010 CLT20 will be a success. The youth are the future and it is always important to remember to give back where you can," Murali added.
Ntini, who will play for Warriors in the T20 league said, "This is important for the kids, it means a lot for them to receive advice from their heroes. It's always great to see their excitement and enthusiasm for the game while coaching."
The players were later joined by Ray Jennings, coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore, who said he is looking forward to the start of the tournament.
The Champions League T20 tournament takes place from September 10 to 26 across four venues in South Africa -- Wanderers, Centurion, St George's Park and Kingsmead â with 10 of the world's top franchise cricket teams battling it out for T20 glory.
The first game is between the Highveld Lions and the Mumbai Indians at the Wanderers on September 10.