Akram doffs hat to Muralitharan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/w/wasimakram2.jpg' class='caption'> Retired Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram doffed his hat at Muttiah Muralitharan and said it would be difficult for others to better the off-spinner's mark.

Updated: February 05, 2009 15:48 IST
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No more the highest ODI wicket-taker after Muttiah Muralitharan overtook him, retired Pakistani pacer Wasim Akram on Thursday doffed his hat at the Sri Lankan and said it would be difficult for others to better the off-spinner's mark.

"It was a matter of time before he broke my record. Muralitharan is a great bowler and he deserved the record," Akram said.

"I will call him as soon as I get his number today," he told a cricket website.

Akram said he knew back in 2003 that Muralitharan would go on to become the highest wicket-taker in the ODI format.

"I noticed his progress in 2003 and realised that only he was the man who could break my record. At times I jokingly told him not to play one-day cricket, so that my record remained intact but he was relentless in taking wickets. I am happy that a bowler of his calibre has broken my record," said Akram.

Heaping praise on the 36-year-old Sri Lankan, Akram said, "No matter what type of surface he was playing on, no matter in which country and against which team he was playing, Murali was always threatening to take wickets. He is simply great and more than a good bowler he is a good human being."

The former Pakistan captain, however, doubts if anyone would be able to better Muralitharan's mark, considering the spinner still has a lot of cricket left in him.

"I don't think any bowler will be able to break his records. If he continues to play for another 2 or 3 years, he will cross 1,000 wickets in Tests and 600 wickets in ODIs which will be tough to break for any other bowler," Akram said.

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