I am not focusing on numbers, says tired Muralitharan

I am not focusing on numbers, says tired Muralitharan

Sri Lankan spinner says it will be tough to emulate his achievements

I am not focusing on numbers, says tired Muralitharan

Muttiah Muralitharan

Expected to lead Sri Lanka’s charge for their first Test win in India, the 37-year-old offie has been negotiated with consummate ease by India’s top-order batsmen.

He went wicketless in the second innings in Ahmedabad on an admittedly docile fifth-day track, and was taken to the cleaners in the second Test too.

Muralitharan, who has figures of five for 396 from 101.5 overs this series, has already decided to quit Test cricket next year after the home series against the West Indies, and indicated that he might retire from one-day cricket too before the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent if he didn’t feel his body was holding up too well.

“I can’t bowl as much as I did earlier on,” Muralitharan remarked.

“I tend to get tired after about 15-16 overs. I will try out a bit of one-day cricket. If it doesn’t work, I will retire from both forms before the World Cup. It all depends on how the body goes. In Tests, it’s hard because I have been a threat to other sides and at the moment it’s not looking like that as other teams are playing well against me. “I have played only five Tests this year. Against New Zealand at home, I was bowling with a groin injury in one of the games. Whenever the team wanted a breakthrough, I provided that, but it’s not happening here and I don’t know why.”

Muralitharan needs 12 more wickets to touch the 800-wicket mark in Test cricket. “I am not focusing on numbers,” he asserted. “800 is just a number. Everyone will forget it once you retire. It’ll be good if I can get there, but at the end I will be happy that I had a great career.”

Facing the realistic prospect of not having been part of a Test win in India, Muralitharan noted, “That will be a disappointment, but then life goes on. You can’t accomplish everything in your life. What I have got is I guess amazing. If we can’t win, then so be it.”

With over 1300 international scalps, Muralitharan stands head and shoulders above the chasing pack, and discounted the possibility of anyone seriously challenging his numbers. “People say others also have a chance but obviously, it will be difficult to do whatever I have done for the last 18 years,” he pointed out.

 “Running through sides is not easy. I have got 67 five-wicket hauls and 21 ten-wicket match bags in Tests. I don’t think there will be a single bowler who will do it.”