Murali to quit ODIs to pursue thousand Test wickets

March 1st, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by admin  

Melbourne, Mar1 (IANS) Muttiah Muralitharan will soon quit one-day cricket so that he can achieve his goal of reaching the milestone of 1,000 Test wickets, but he will do so only after overtaking Wasim Akram’s world record of 502 wickets in the shorter version of the game. Murali is following in the footsteps of another legend Shane Warne who quit one-day cricket to prolong his Test life. Along with Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, Murali bid farewell to Melbourne Friday night, saying his firm priority was to play only Test cricket, the Herald Sun reported.

“I am 38 or 39 wickets from (Akram’s all-time 502 one-day wickets) record and would like that before I stop,” he said.

“It’s becoming harder for me each year. I am almost 36 and have bowled so many overs. I can’t keep on going forever.”

The Sri Lankan champion is keen to become more involved in his charity work, which has seen 1,000 houses built in and around Tsunami-hit Galle.

Murali and his wife, Madhi, have a young child and he wants to spend more time at home.

He said the travel had been wearying but he hoped to remain fresh for Test cricket, starting with this month’s campaign in the West Indies and from June some Asian Cup games in Pakistan.

“I have been very fortunate, very lucky to have achieved what I have,” he said.

“I have had a gift and have tried to make the most of it, all along the way upholding the spirit of cricket and the way it should be played.”

While he has had only moderate success in Australia, his first campaigns being marred by no-ball calls for throwing, Murali said his critics had only made him stronger.

He averaged 100 runs a wicket in two Tests against the Australians last year and his one-day record this summer was almost as modest. The Aussies began to target him, too, in the field.

Murali was taunted by three young men while walking with captain Mahela Jayawardene and coach Trevor Bayliss at Southbank on Thursday, the men accusing him of being a chucker and “not as good as Shane Warne”.

Murali was visibly upset, according to Sri Lankan team insiders.

Sri Lanka’s new board chief, former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, said Murali had been outstanding as an ambassador, cricketer and a person throughout his career. Many Sri Lankans have urged Murali to play on until the next World Cup in 2011.

“No, no,” he said. “My mind is willing, but my body no.”

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