Sri Lanka news July 6, 2010

Galle Test to be Muralitharan's last

Cricinfo staff

Muttiah Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, will retire from Test cricket after the first Test against India in Galle, which begins on July 18. While he will not play the subsequent tri-series, and will pick and choose which ODIs to play in, Murali will be available for selection if the team needs him for the 2011 World Cup, which Sri Lanka is co-hosting.

Cricinfo has learnt that Murali met Aravinda de Silva, the chairman of selectors, and captain Kumar Sangakkara over the weekend to discuss his future. He was asked to consider playing the full series against India, but he was unsure about being at his best if bowled heavily throughout the series.

"Murali has been thinking for some time about the right time to go," a source close to the offspinner told Cricinfo. "All along he has been determined to go while he is still performing rather than just hanging on. He made the decision last week after the Asia Cup and met with the selectors and captain over the weekend to explain to them his position. He is really keen to play on to the World Cup but at the same time he does not want to stand in the way of younger talent. So he will see how things go over the next few months."

Kushil Gunasekara, Murali's manager, said the unscheduled Test series against India had made Murali fast track his decision to retire. "The selectors want Murali to be around just in case they don't find a suitable replacement for him for the 2011 World Cup," he said. "They probably want the spinners to work around Murali."

Murali also considered a stint in county cricket, playing for Surrey, but that is unlikely because Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) doesn't want him to play too much cricket before the World Cup. Cricinfo also learnt that the selectors and management have privately communicated their desire for him to play on until the World Cup, counting on his experience in the big tournament.

About a year ago, Murali had announced he would retire after the home series against West Indies late this year, but in last November he said he could advance the Test retirement. "I am 37 years old and I can't bowl as much as those days because I get tired after 15-16 overs," he had told Cricinfo then. "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."

Murali has taken 792 wickets in 132 Tests and 515 wickets in 337 ODIs. Galle will be an interesting shot at retiring with 800 Test wickets.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • J Ranjith on July 9, 2010, 5:26 GMT

    And, those say that Warne was robbed off the world record by Murali with a illegitimate action, here's a point for you all. How many times could Warne have taken drugs and got some of those 700 wickets! Who can prove that Warne's 700+ are legitimate! So, rather than lamenting about chucking, lets please get on with the life and give warm wishes to everyone, in spite of what happened. But, I am not sure how Malinga's bowling is legitimate, if that's correct, I do not feel any slightest doubt over Murali's action.

  • J Ranjith on July 9, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Lots of respectable people say that ICC's rule was changed for Murali and thus he doesn't deserve the record. The point here is he had been born with a defect in his hand, unlike all of us. Yet he managed to practice the bowling and excelled upto this level. If ICC had been lenient, it had been for that defect and not for him! And, anyone arguing about his defect is like fighting for a seat in bus with a handicapped person. No one can prove that the rule prior to the change was perfect, it was just created in the very beginning as a concept. And, Murali still proved his consistency with the new rule and umpires have no right to call him after that on the field, if anyone doubts still that he did chuck beyond in real match situations, a video footage of that needs to be shown to public and make people believe that he's a chucker. If no one could do that, no one has any right to call him a chucker anymore.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2010, 4:55 GMT

    Will miss you lot murali,but it is good decision because we have some good young players to carry your work,hope you will serve sri lankan cricket after retired .And i hope you will take the 8 wickets to go for the 800 wickets in test.

  • Karl on July 9, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    Murali well done mate! It is sad to see you go but all good things have to come to an end. You have done your legion of supports and country proud! You are the best bowler ever!because no other bowler would have been able to achieve what you have with so many people looking to discredit you every time you bowl. The Australians talk about giving people a' fare go', I don't see them giving Murali one. What is even more shame full is every time he bowls they shout 'no ball' and that's getting a bit old! I like to believe they are too ignorant or foolish to read that he has been cleared several times.People are always scared of something they cannot explain. Come on Murali...if your body lets you lets add one more world cup..... And keep on smiling Murali.. because that is true mark of champion...:)

  • Dummy4 on July 8, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    Hats off to you Murali. You have provided the entertainment for the masses for all these years, both in bowling and batting. There are many rednecks out there, who still could not comprehend the fact that a non Aussie is retiring as King Of Bowling. They could not comprehend the fact that a non white had bamboozled them over so many years. Technology had proved them wrong time and again but they are not ready to accept. I wish that you pass on your legacy to someone who could be like you. All the best to you!!!

  • Mahiru on July 8, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    i'm glad to see many of his critics getting furious after seeing how the huge majority appreciates will miss a great human being and a Gentleman.. unlike warne who was a rowdy.. now can anyone remember how warne cheated by taking illegal drugs and blamed his mom for that?? its not the records that matter but the conduct

  • PRANAVAN on July 8, 2010, 11:53 GMT


  • Saravanan on July 8, 2010, 9:57 GMT

    As a non sri lankan its nice to know that murali wont be in SL XI anymore!!! I am happy he has chosen his retirement date rather than leaving it to the selectors. enjoyed his bowling all along except when he bowled to an indian batsmen. Warne is a great bowler no doubt but i dont remember him troubling any indian test batsmen whereas murali has troubled them all but for sehwag. And he had very few oppurtunity to bowl against the Englishmen against warnes 5 in every two years. Would have missed few hundred wickets there. In the last two decades i could remember only two batsmen, lara & sehwag, who played/read him well. Thats some achievement....

  • Dishan on July 8, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    Just the perfect time to retire!!! yes you showed that 800th wicket is nothing to u!!! That how great players are! don bradman 99.94. he could hv played another match to get 100, but cz he is a great player he didnt!! All the best Murali. Hope sana will get a lesson from this!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 8, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Good Luck to you Murali..... best wishes to your future... True hero of mother lanka who brought much deserve PRIDE by doing what he love for 20 years.... we will miss you...... but will be remember FOREVER........ Thank you very much for every thing you did.......................!

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