x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Murali gives up the dream

Muttiah Muralitharan, the highest wicket taker in Test cricket, has given up on his dream of hitting the 1,000 mark.

Muttiah Muralitharan, the highest wicket taker in Test cricket, has given up on his dream of hitting the 1,000 mark. The Sri Lanka bowler claimed the scalp of New Zealand's Jeetan Patel in Colombo yesterday to take his haul to 778, but does not believe he can continue playing long enough to reach four figures. "I feel my body can't take it any more. I would like to have finished my Test career with 1,000 wickets, but that would take another four to five years and that's an awful lot of time," he told The National.

"All good things must come to an end one day and I feel my time is nearing. "It has been a wonderful journey for me and I have no regrets when I finally retire from the game." Murali has set November 2010, the completion of a home series with the West Indies, as a target for retiring from Test cricket and he will play in one-day games until the 2011 World Cup - which is being hosted by Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh.

"I don't want to stand ahead of the youngsters any more. Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath have come through well and should carry on with the good work for the team," he said. "I am beginning to feel the burden of playing Test cricket. I want to go out when I am still on top and the time has come to leave Test cricket for good. There are also some up and coming young spinners." The International Cricket Council (ICC) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) yesterday ended their dispute over the removal of Pakistan as co-hosts in the World Cup, with the PCB given additional compensation in addition to being allowed to keep match fees.

Pakistan lost the right to host international cricket matches after militants attacked Sri Lanka's cricketers - including Murali - on their way to play a Test match against Pakistan on March 3 in the city of Lahore. The PCB had wanted to stage the 14 games they were due to host in a neutral venue such as the United Arab Emirates, something the ICC ruled out. The agreement followed a meeting between David Morgan, the ICC president, and Ijaz Butt, the president of the PCB at the ICC's headquarters in Dubai.

apassela@thenational.ae The modest spin master, s2-3 New Zealand on the ropes, s4