I hold no grudge against anyone: Muralitharan

July 22nd, 2010 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Legendary Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who Thursday brought curtains to his illustrious Test career with a staggering 800 wickets, said he holds no grudge against the umpires who called him for chucking.
It was a perfect swansong for Murali, playing his last Test at Galle, where he reached the landmark of 800 wickets, taking eight wickets in Sri Lanka’s 10-wicket win over India in the first match of the series here Thursday.

However, Murali’s 18 year-long career was not without controversies. In the controversial Australia tour of 1995, Murali was called for chucking for the first time by Darrell Hair, which nearly divided the cricket world. During Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2004, Murali’s doosra was reported by match referee Chris Broad for illegal straightening of the arm.

Murali, who was later cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for his action, thanked his former captains Arjuna Ranatunga and Arvinda De Silva for their support.

“It was in 1995 that it first happened. I didn’t expect it and I was disappointed. But so many people helped through that phase,” Murali said.

“At that time Arjuna Ranatunga, Arvinda De Silva and the board adviced me and I was able to come through it. The umpires are judging the players with a naked eye. I hold no grudges, I have proved everything through technically and I am happy to be able to do that.”

Asked whether at anytime during the controversy he thought of quitting the game, Murali said: “No. See, when I started I was a fast bowler and I thought if something goes wrong I will go to the leg spin, so I never though of quitting.”

The spinner, who is yet to announce his retirement from the One-day International, said he is willing to be around for his country till the 2011 World Cup and has conveyed it to the Sri Lankan board.

“I have spoken to the selectors and if they want me for the World Cup then I am ready, if they want to try youngsters, I am ok with that too. I plan to play a bit of Twenty20 cricket as well,” said Murali, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in Indian Premier League.

The wily spinner credited his school St. Anthony College in Kandy for shaping his career.

“I was eight years old when I started playing cricket. My school coach Sunil Fernando helped me a lot. School was an important part of my life,” he said.

Muralitharan, who became famous for his big, bulging eyes, is known to be affable and admits having quite a few friends round the world.

“I have made lots of friends through cricket. Sometimes teammates say I am talking too much with the opposition team, but it is my nature. I love to make friends and meet people,” he said.

The legend, who was flanked by his wife Madhimalar, son Naren and mother on the momentous occasion, thanked Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse who flew in from the capital, Colombo, and presented Muralitharan a memento during the lunch break.

“I will like to thank his excellency who was here for the match. I would also like to thank my wife and my family who has been supporting me all these 19 years and without them it would not have been possible.

“I would also like to thank the team members past and present and the people of Sri Lanka without whom I would not have reached this stage.

“I want to thank everyone for giving such splendid farewell, it has been a wonderful last Test math and no player has got such a treatment in Sri Lanka before.”

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