Twenty20 is saviour of Test cricket, says Muralitharan

April 15th, 2008 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, April 15 (IANS) Muttiah Muralitharan, the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket history Tuesday said the Twenty20 format of the game has come to stay and is the “saviour” of Test cricket. Speaking to the media here after a strenuous practice session with the Chennai Super Kings team for the Indian Premier League (IPL), Muralitharan, who has 735 wickets from 120 Tests and 464 from 309 ODIs, asserted that Twenty20 was the future face of cricket and he had no qualms in accepting the fact.

“However, as any cricketer would tell you, Test cricket is the ultimate. But these days, not many people can spare five days to watch a Test match. They need entertainment and that is what Twenty20 is all about,” he said.

Muralitharan, who turns 36 Thursday, did not endorse the view that spinners do not have much of a role to play in Twenty20 format of cricket. On the contrary, he pointed out the same held for the batsmen who have little time to settle in.

“I feel, spinners can and will play a big role in Twenty20. After all, the spinner stands a chance since the batsmen would be looking to play strokes.”

“If you have the right strategy, then, it is quite possible to take wickets. But you also need to be a good spinner to make an impact,” he said.

As if to emphasise the point, he referred to his own performance with Lancashire and said he had a role to play in the team’s victories.

“I have not played much of Twenty20, but during my days with Lancashire, I thought I did pretty well. So, I feel, spinners can play a crucial role in this format,” he said.

Muralitharan has taken two wickets in the only T-20 international at an economy rate of 6.75, besides eight other games in which he took 17 wickets, conceding 5.37 runs an over.

Asked whether playing for a club side would provide the same level of motivation and intensity as when representing the country, Muralitharan reiterated that like any professional cricketer, he would be playing to win the match.

“We are all professional cricketers and as such, would love to win matches. That’s the way we were brought up and we will be doing our best to win the tournament,” he said.

Muralitharan pointed out that his link to Chennai through marriage and also being a Tamil himself were motivational factors to him.

“My wife is from Chennai and I am a Tamil myself. So, I feel it is an honour to represent a Chennai team and I feel motivated,” he said.

Looking ahead to the IPL, Muralitharan said: “All the teams appear good since they all have the world’s best players.”

“As for Chennai Super Kings, we have Mahendra Singh Dhoni as our captain. He has been lucky (in winning the Test match at Kanpur, the Twenty20 World Cup and the tri-series in Australia). I do hope he will prove lucky for our team.”

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