Muralitharan: I could play the next World Cup
Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka's champion off spinner, believes he could play in the 2011 World Cup but isn't so sure about capturing 1000 Test wickets. "For all you know, I can go on to 40 years. I am 34 and in another four years I will be 38 so I could also play in the next World Cup," he said ahead of Sri Lanka's Group B match with Bangladesh in Trinidad. "It's just how my mind thinks, how fit I am. I would love to play the next World Cup because it's on home soil."
Muralitharan has 674 wickets from 110 Tests, second only to the retired Shane Warne's 708, and has been tipped by a few to touch 1000. "It's very difficult because you need another 300 wickets. It will take another 4-5 years or 40-45 Tests. I can only take it match by match," said Muralitharan. "Having said so, I must also say that I am still going up the ladder. Last year was my best as I took 96 wickets in 11 or 12 Tests."
As for Sri Lanka's chances in the World Cup, Muralitharan felt the media had a large hand in portraying them as favourites. "The game in the middle is little different. Any team can beat anyone in one-day cricket. In this game of 50 overs, a matter of 15 overs can change everything," he said."As for having the best attack, it depends on how you play in the park. Form on paper doesn't matter at all. Quality is what you deliver not what you claim to have."
He also drew comparisons with Sri Lanka's emerging days to that of the current Bangladesh side, which beat New Zealand in a warm-up game and India by five wickets in their tournament opener. "Bangladesh is no longer a minnow. They have been playing cricket for 7-8 years. They have the experience to rebuild the side," he said. "We began in 1983 and we had won the World Cup in 13 years time. So it means they can also do it in near future."
Muralitharan's views differed slightly on Bangladesh's Test future. "They will struggle because they don't have the bowlers to take wickets," he said. "I don't want to boast but you need the firepower of myself, [Chaminda] Vaas and [Lasith] Malinga. They don't have it. In one-day cricket you don't need firepower. You can bowl line and length and stop the runs and win a match. They are lacking in bowlers but I think their batsmen are okay."