2011 World Cup to mark end of Murali's career

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/m/murali-record.jpg' class='caption'> World's highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan says he will bid adieu to cricket after the 2011 World Cup.

Updated: February 06, 2009 09:37 IST
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World's highest wicket-taker in Tests and ODIs, Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan says he will bid adieu to cricket after the 2011 World Cup which will be played in the Indian sub-continent.

"Playing cricket is the only thing I know to do. I thought the body is right, mentally I was fit and everything was coming right for me so I want to play as much as I can," Murali said.

"I am thinking about playing till the next World Cup in 2011. I have nothing more to achieve after that. The World Cup will mark the end of my career," he was quoted as saying by a cricket portal on Friday.

India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are set to co-host the 2011 World Cup.

The 36-year-old Muralitharan, who surpassed Wasim Akram's ODI scalp of 502 during the fourth match against India on Thursday, says it felt great to be on top in both Tests as well as one-dayers.

"It's a great achievement because the only other person who has achieved such a feat in cricket (currently) is Sachin Tendulkar, who holds both batting records," Muralitharan said.

"Playing for Sri Lanka and achieving this feat is great for me and the country. Everyone wants to play in both forms of the game, holding the records in both forms mean that I have done really well playing for a long period of 18 years," he added.

But the veteran spinner also said he did not think much about reaching the ODI mark so much as his Test feat.

"I didn't think much about the one-day record because no one was closer to it. The nearest was Chaminda Vaas who had about 400 wickets (currently) so I thought it can be achieved
easily," he said.

"Three bowlers were in contention for the world Test record: Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and me.

"They were a little bit older than me and I thought they would retire before me, then I would have a chance of overcoming them. That's what happened," added the bowler who has amassed 769 Test wickets and counting.

Recalling his journey to this day, Murali, who braved a lot of controversies, said it was not all that sweet as he had his share of ups and downs but it was important to make a comeback everytime.

"I have to be physically and mentally fit. It's not easy to go on for such a long time because you play so much of cricket. Sometimes you have your ups and downs. You have to put your head up and come back tomorrow and try to do the work that you have been doing for the next game.

"All is not sweet. I have gone through ups and downs. How strong you are and how you make a come back is the main point," he added.

With Sri Lanka struggling in the ongoing series against India, Murali said cricket was about confidence and at the moment Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co were on a high.

"We must look at where we have gone wrong and correct our mistakes and try to get back into winning ways," he said.

"India have the confidence of beating England 5-0 and their batsmen are playing well. A period comes when all the batsmen are set and all get runs. They are not scared of getting out, whatever strokes they play, they play with confidence.

"Once the batsmen lose confidence that's when they start to struggle. At the moment the confidence level of this batting line-up is very high, so whatever they do it's going their way. It happens in cricket," he said.

What remains to be seen, Murali said, is whether India continues their dominance for years like Australia did.

"It could change or it could go on like the way Australia did for the last 10 years. Now you see Australia are struggling with same players because their confidence level has gone down. Cricket is all about confidence," he said.

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