New Delhi:Highly impressed by India's amazing display in recent times, Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan predicted a prolonged dream run for the side under its charismatic leader Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Under Dhoni, India clinched the five-match series against Sri Lanka by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead and Muralitharan had no hesitation in dubbing the side as one of the best Indian teams he has played against in his 16 years of international career.
"Indians are doing great job now in the cricketing world. I must say that this Indian team is one of the best that I have played against. I am sure this team will get more success in the months to come," the 36-year-old spinner said.
Muralitharan said Indian stars Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were difficult to bowl at but it was West Indian legend Brian Lara who was the best batsman he ever bowled to.
"There are good numbers of world class batsmen in world cricket today like Chris Gayle, (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul, (Kevin) Pietersen, Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting, Sehwag, Dhoni, Sachin. But the batsman who played me convincingly is Brian Lara. He was the best batsman I bowled to," Murali told a sports channel.
Muralitharan refused to buy the argument that spin-bowling is slowly declining in world cricket nor accepted the view that left arm spin is on the wane.
"Spin-bowling is an integral part of international cricket. Spinners have role in Twenty20 cricket also.
"(Left-armer) Daniel Vettori is still bowling. The New Zealand spin department depends a lot on him. Monty Panesar is also doing well," he said.
Murali also gave a thumbs up to his young spin partner Ajantha Mendis who has got some battering recently from the Indians, calling him a "unique" bowler.
"No doubt Ajantha is a unique bowler, very talented. He would definitely win many more matches for Sri Lanka. He has got all the qualities to be a great bowler. Since, his debut, he has been labelled a mysterious bowler and he would also improve with the passage of time which would make him all the more a dangerous bowler."
Asked how he coped with the stress when he was charged with chucking allegations.
"No point in looking back. Yes, I had to go through a bad time. But my team and our cricket board backed me all through and gave me confidence all along. You cannot achieve anything without stress, tension. All these things made me even more confident," he said.