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'Team wins whenever I take wickets'

Source: PTI
October 03, 2006 18:26 IST
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Sri Lanka's record-breaking spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has taken the blame on himself for his team's poor showing in India last year and is keen to set the record straight during the Champions Trophy.

"I don't think I did well last time. Everybody talks about the team's failure, but whenever I take wickets the team wins. And I didn't take many wickets last time," Muralitharan said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The Lankans were thrashed 6-1 in the one-day series and lost the three-Test series 2-0 during their visit to India in October-November last year.

It was their first full-fledged tour across the Palk Strait in eight years and Muralitharan returned with six wickets in the five one-dayers he played and with 16 wickets in three Tests but an unusually high average of 31.00.

The 34-year-old, who has more than 1000 wickets including 293 in the shorter version of the game at a miserly 23.28, did not agree that conditions in India and Sri Lanka were similar.

"People say conditions are same but I think only the weather is the same. The pitches are different. Indian tracks are more helpful to batting than bowling," he said.

If the past records are anything to go by, the wickets at Jaipur and Ahmedabad promise a lot of runs.

The Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, which last hosted a one-day international in 1995, too, should be batsmen friendly.

The Mohali strip has aided seamers on more than one occasion but those were in Test matches and, with organisers around the world dependent on television money for revenue, it should not deviate from the one-day norm.

But Muralitharan, a Tamilian who is married to a Chennai girl, remained unperturbed by the fact.

"I have proved over the years that I can take wickets on any track. Any type of wicket is ok for me, I am prepared to do well," he said.

Sri Lanka have to play a qualifying round against the West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to advance to the championship proper.

They are to play their first match against Bangladesh at Mohali on Saturday.

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