A fleeting ambition of taking a phenomenal 1,000 Test wickets led Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan to think about postponing his retirement last year but injury concerns in an ageing body prompted him to drop the idea.
Muralitharan, who retired from Test cricket after taking his 800th wicket in a match against India at Galle last July, said he had developed second thoughts about his retirement as he wanted to set a record which no other cricketer could surpass.
"I did think long and hard about becoming the first man to take 1,000 Test wickets. I had decided to retire after the game against India but had second thoughts after taking eight wickets to reach 800," Muralitharan, who got to his 800th wicket - that of Pragyan Ojha - in his final ball of Test cricket, said.
"I wondered if it was possible to make it to 1,000 and whether retiring was the right thing to do. I had to decide whether to keep going and set a record that would never be beaten or retire while I was still fit and performing well," he said in the latest edition of a cricket magazine.
Muralitharan, who retired from international cricket in Sri Lanka's World Cup summit clash loss to India in April, said the toll his body will have to take for another four years led to his dropping the fleeting ambition.
"But then I worked out how much longer I would have to go on playing to reach that target and realised it was probably asking too much. Sri Lanka play only about eight Tests a year and at the rate I was taking wickets I would have needed to keep playing until I was 43," he said.