Aug 11 (TOI) PALLEKELE- As he greets you with a smile at his biscuit factory, named Luckyland Biscuit Manufacturers, Sinnasamy Muthiah, with his big eyes and diminutive stature, immediately reminds you of someone you've grown up watching on TV.
With one of his four sons being Test cricket's highest wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan, Sinnasamy Muthiah is a well-known man in Kandy. However, this 73-year-old seems to be unlike the fathers of other famous sportspersons, who like to ride on their son's popularity.
His company, of which he's a managing partner, is the third-largest biscuit manufacturer in Sri Lanka, which employs around 200 people, and he can easily use Murali's face to sell it. However, as delivery vans carrying biscuit packets whizz past you in this more than Murali's father Sinnasamy does not want to use his son's image on the packets of the biscuits he manufactures 5,000 sq feet factory, you don't find a single biscuit packet with the retired off-spinner's face on it.
"My son endorses 'Sunridges' biscuits (rival) brand, so I can't use his face to promote my biscuits," says the humble man, who prefers to converse only in Tamil and Sinhalese, and prefers to wear the traditional 'lungi' instead of donning a suit like a corporate czar.
Talking fondly about his son, the 73-year-old shows us a small, cement backyard, situated below his factory, where the little 'Murali' would play cricket with his friends and brothers all day. The father and son, it seems, hardly seem to talk cricket at all. Recalling the time when Muralitharan was engulfed in the biggest chucking controversy of all time in Australia back in 1995, Sinnasamy says: "I'm so thankful to Arjuna Ranatunga (the then Lankan captain) for completely supporting Murali during that phase. But I never spoke to him about it."
How much the Muralitharans have snapped ties with Sri Lankan cricket can be gauged by the fact that both the father and son will not be attending the third Test between India and Sri Lanka, scheduled to begin on Saturday. "No. I've got no time. I'm too busy with my work, and Murali's in Singapore," he says. Business acumen clearly runs in the blood. While Sinnasamy is a biscuit baron, his son has apparently no interest in his father's business. "He doesn't come here since he doesn't have the time. He last came here two months back. In Colombo, Murali has his beverage can manufacturing plant, where about 150 people are employed," he says.
There was a bit of brouhaha last year when the spin wizard assisted the Aussie spinners during their tour to Lanka. Defending his son, Sinnasamy says: "Murali supports cricket, not the country. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) knew Murali was coaching them and still didn't seek his services. Otherwise, he would definitely have gone and helped our team. He has so much knowledge, and he's someone who likes to coach and pass on his knowledge to the youngsters. Even today, he would offer his help to Lankan cricket after just one phone call."
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