Muralitharan may retire before 2011 World Cup

Colombo, Nov 29 ( Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralithran, who is struggling for form in the ongoing cricket Test series against India, said he may retire from both forms of the game before the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent.

Muralitharan said the workload is taking a toll on his body.

“I am 37 years old and I cannot bowl as much as those days because I get tired after 15-16 overs. But I will try and play a little bit of One-day cricket – that’s only 10 overs to bowl. If I find everything is not going well I might retire from both forms of the game before the World Cup.

“Everything depends on how much my body can take. In Test cricket it’s a little bit harder because I have always been a threat to other sides but at the moment it’s not looking like that because others are playing me well. I think I made the right decision to retire from Test cricket at the end of the West Indies series next year.”

“Two to three years ago it was not like this. Now you have niggles here and there and my groin is not the same as it used to be,” Murali was quoted as saying by Sri Lankan daily The Nation on Sunday.

Muralitharan is the highest wicket taker in both Tests and One-dayers. He has a staggering 788 wickets in 131 Tests at an average of 22.58. In 334 ODIs, he has claimed 512 wickets at 22.93 runs apiece.

The Sri Lankan has taken only five wickets in two Tests against India so far. In the second Test at Kanpur which India won by an innings and 144 runs, Muralitharan got only two wickets in the first innings giving away 175 runs. The Indian batsmen have scored freely against Muralitharan, his five wickets in the series have cost him 396 runs, at an average of 79.20.

“We got the worst bowling conditions in the last two Tests. We didn’t have the bowlers, that was one of the factors. But that’s the way cricket goes, everything won’t work in your favour.”

Muralitharan was clearly feeling the pressure for not getting the wickets in the three-Test series against India.

“I’ve played only eight Tests this year: two against Bangladesh, two against Pakistan, and two against New Zealand when I really did well bowling in the second innings of the second Test with a groin injury,” he said.

“Whenever the side wanted a breakthrough I got it for them in the New Zealand series. I don’t know why it’s not happening here.

“You have to give credit to India also for playing well. Whatever we were expecting didn’t happen. Even the spinners didn’t do well in any Test because everyone was not up to the mark and the wicket was not assisting them.”

He said that the team should have faith on other bowlers to get the wickets.

“There was a time the team was dependent on me for wickets but it has to change. Others must also get a chance Rangana (Herath) is bowling well and (Ajantha) Mendis. They will have to carry through in the years to come.

“Whatever I did in the last 18 years is not possible for anybody to achieve because I ran through sides alone getting five-for in an innings 66 times and 22 ten-wicket match hauls. One single spinner cannot achieve that but as a collective unit of bowlers they can take wickets against oppositions. We have fast bowlers and spinners and they are good enough to do that.”