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'Only Harbhajan can emulate me' - Murali

Muttiah Muralitharan has singled out Harbhajan Singh as the only bowler capable of emulating his record feat in Tests

Cricinfo staff
07-Jul-2010
Muttiah Muralitharan went wicketless on the second day, India v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Kanpur, 2nd day, November 25, 2009

Slow bowlers will struggle to survive in the long run, says Muttiah Muralitharan  •  AFP

Muttiah Muralitharan has singled out Harbhajan Singh as the only bowler capable of emulating his record feat in Tests. Murali, the leading wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, who will retire from the longest format later this month, also said the decline of Tests and 50-over cricket meant slow bowlers would struggle for survival.
"I think only Harbhajan can do this," Murali, who currently has 792 wickets, told PTI. I don't know how old is he and how long he will continue. But he is the only one who can achieve this feat in Test cricket." Harbhajan, 30, has bagged 355 wickets in 83 Tests to date.
Murali said it would get increasingly difficult for spinners to set the kind of records he has. "In the current scenario Test cricket is dying. One-day cricket does not have bright future. Only Twenty20 is going to survive. So it will be difficult for any slow bowler to survive so long," he said.
Murali's success was a significant factor in the turn in Sri Lanka's fortunes as a Test-playing nation, but they were unable to win a Test in India, South Africa or Australia during his 18-year career. The absence of a win in either of these countries during his career, Murali said, remained his biggest regret. "I have achieved everything that an international cricketer can dream about. I have only one regret that I could not win in India, South Africa and Australia. But one cannot get everything in life."
Murali is just eight wickets away from reaching 800 wickets, and said reaching that landmark would mark a satisfactory end to his Test career. "I don't run after records. I have the world record in my name. Although if I could get eight more wickets, it will be a good way to end. I am sure I will be able to do that in one match. If not, no worries," he said.
When asked who was the toughest batsman he bowled to, Murali said: "If we talk about the consistency, then no other batsman can match Sachin [Tendulkar] and [Brian] Lara. They are the best against whom I have bowled. I had to put in extra effort against them. I am happy that I will be able to bowl Sachin in my last Test."
Murali said he is yet to decide whether to participate in the 2011 World Cup, but was available for the IPL. "I have not given it a thought yet [about the 2011 World Cup]. I cannot say that it is off my radar but I will think about this. After that I will be able to say something about participating in the tournament," he said. "I want to continue playing in the IPL till the franchise (Chennai Super Kings) needs me."