Peers and former greats pay tribute to Murali July 14, 2007

'He is very hungry'

Cricinfo staff

'I must admit I had my doubts about his action in the early stages of his career but everybody now accepts genuine talent': Barry Richards on Murali © Getty Images

Breaking records seems to be hardly news where Murali's career is concerned. But the man himself never fails to surprise. On the occasion of becoming just the second bowler in Test history to take 700 wickets, former players and peers talk of the great spinner's infectious energy and his perennial hunger to excel.

Chaminda Vaas

Murali is one of the best bowlers in cricket arena. After 500 he aimed to reach 600 and once he was there he eyed the 700-mark. This guy just wants to continue playing and taking wickets - he loves to take wickets. When he doesn't get wickets, which is rare, he is very frustrated. I have been his bowling partner for more than a decade now and it has been a pleasure to bowl from the other end. He wants you to tie from one side because that makes it easy for him to buy wickets. The other thing about Murali is he never stops from learning: even if batsmen are trying their best to study him he himself has improved in the years to come up with new balls and variations, he never gives up. He is very hungry and at the same time he wants to set a good example for others. Nobody can match him. I would like to see him play for at least three to four more years and help produce young spinners in Sri Lanka.

Barry Richards

It is a wonderful achievement. No one questions his ability, he is a genius. He might be one of the last spinning geniuses in the today's totally-batsman dominated cricket. I must admit I had my doubts about his action in the early stages of his career but everybody now accepts genuine talent.

Harbhajan Singh

He is a great role model for all of us. He has been there for many years and always been a match-winner. He has taken Sri Lankan cricket to big heights, without him they wouldn't be where they are today. He is a champion spinner - his consistency of taking wickets, the way the creates the pressure by bowling good balls is just amazing. He is so hungry for wickets and that despite taking so many wickets and he wants to do it again and again. On the cricket ground he is a such a big presence and he leaves an effect on you. With his variations he can surely reach the 1000-wicket mark if he continues to play for at least a few more years. People feel he buys his wickets easily but he makes it look easy even if it is not so easy. In my intereactions with him he has always asked me keep motivating myself and keep playing and keep enjoying the game. After the retirment of Warne and McGrath we need heroes in the game and guys like Murali and Kumble are players we to look upto.