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Home > Cricket > The Cup > PTI > Report

Muralitharan rules out 1000 Test wickets for himself

March 21, 2007 13:35 IST
Last Updated: March 21, 2007 13:36 IST

Muthiah Muralitharan says the magical mark of 1000 Test is not in his horizon yet, but cherishes an ambition to play in the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent.

"It's very difficult because you need another 300 wickets. It will take another 4-5 years or 40-45 Tests. I can only take it match by match," Sri Lanka's record-breaking off-spinner said ahead of crucial World Cup Group 'B' matches against Bangladesh and India this week.

"Having said that, I must stay that I am still going up the ladder. Last year was my best as I took 96 wickets in 11 or 12 Tests. "For all you know, I can go on to 40 years. I am 34 and in another four years I will be 38 so I could also play in the next World Cup. "It's just how my mind thinks, how fit I am. I would love to play the next World Cup because it's on home soil."

Muralitharan has a phenomenal strike rate and has picked up 674 wickets in his 110 Tests with 57 five-wicket and 19 ten-wicket hauls. Retired Australian leggie Shane Warne holds the world record with 708 scalps but experts tip Muralitharan to set a benchmark, which others would only dream about in future.

Sri Lanka are one of the red hot favourites for the cup with many viewing them as having the best attack in the competition. "It's the media which talks of favourites. Game in the middle is a little different. Any team can beat anyone in one-day cricket," he said.

"In this game of 50 overs, a matter of 15 overs can change everything. As for having the best attack, it depends on how you play in the park. "Form on paper doesn't matter at all. Quality is what you deliver not what you claim to have."

Muralitharan senses a lot of similarities between the emerging days of Bangladesh and that of Sri Lanka. "Bangladesh are no longer minnows. They have been playing cricket for 7-8 years. They have the experience to rebuild the side. "We began in 1983 and we won the world cup in 13 years' time. So it means they can also do it in near future." Muralitharan, however, believes that Bangladesh would struggle in Tests in the near future.

"They will struggle because they don't have the bowlers to take wickets. I don't want to boast but you need the firepower of myself, Vaas and Malinga. They don't have it. "In one-day cricket you don't need firepower. You can bowl line and length and stop the runs and win a match. They are lacking in bowlers but I think their batsmen are OK."

Muralitharan discounted the notion that he had an ongoing rivalry with Warne or that he had any captaincy ambitions.

"There was no competition with Warnie or anybody and that's because we compete with other team's batsmen. "Captaincy too has never been the thing for me. As a bowler I have to think so much that I would rather leave it for those who are the best persons to do the job. "I'm not the best person for the job, I don't want it. What I can't do, I won't do it. What I can do, I will give 200 per cent. "I also have no personal goals. I am only trying to do my best for the team."

Murali doesn't believe either that he would go down in history as the greatest spinner of them all. "I don't think I am the greatest because someone will come just like that. Nobody thought when I began that I will be the best off-spinner in the world. "So somebody in another five years or 10 years' time, maybe next year, somewhere, some person will bowl like me or better than me."

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