Muralitharan has announced that he will retire from the longer version of the game after playing the first Test against India starting July 18 at Galle. "I will be happy to see the younger players shape up and win the World Cup for Sri Lanka. But if the authorities think I should also be a part of the team, then I will play," the world's highest wicket-taker said at a press conference here.
Hitting back at his detractors, who questioned his bowling action, Muralitharan said it was easy to criticise anybody with a naked eye but bio-mechanics proved that his action was legal. He also thanked Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga for their support when his action repeatedly came under the scanner.
The batsmen worldwide have often dreaded facing him but when asked which batsmen he would find difficult to bowl at, Muralitharan named modern day legends Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. "It is difficult to pinpoint. Overall I think I played a lot of cricket against the West Indies during Lara's days. And also played a lot against Sachin Tendulkar. Like that you can name so many. But these two players are very special players in the world. And I think they have played me the best," Muralitharan said.
Praising the technique of Sri Lankan batsmen against spinners, the veteran off-spinner said he himself was troubled by his compatriots in domestic matches. "And I think if you ask me I won't like to bowl to a Sri Lankan because I could get hit. I think most difficult players are Sri Lankan players. While playing club cricket in Sri Lanka I can't get through these guys," Muralitharan said.
Muralitharan said his Test record of 792 wickets was not unbeatable. "When Fred Trueman took 302 wickets, he said it will be very tiring for anyone to break his record," he said.