Muttiah Muralitharan is considering retiring from both Tests and ODIs. The spin wizard had earlier said that he would want to keep playing in ODIs till the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent.
Speaking to Sri Lankan media, Muralitharan said, “I am 37 years old and I can't bowl as well as I used to because my body gets tired after 15-16 overs. But I will try and play a little bit of one-day cricket.
That's only ten overs to bowl. If I find everything is not going well, I might retire from both forms of the game.”
Speaking to The Hindu, off-spinning great Erapalli Prasanna had attributed the recent lack of consistency in Muralitharan's bowling to advancing years. “The mind is willing but the body isn't. Your reflexes and strength are not the same. You want the ball to pitch in a particular spot but it lands a tough wider or shorter. This happens to all bowlers when they age. You realise that it is time to go.”
Perhaps, the decline is more visible in Muralitharan since he was someone who sliced through line-ups; the Sri Lankan is the most successful bowler in both Tests and ODIs.
The Indians have handled the bowling giant with ease in the series. On the first day of the second Test at Green Park, Muralitharan could not send down a single maiden. “You got to give credit to the Indians.
They have batted well. But we have also had the worst of the conditions,” Muralitharan said. The Sri Lankan has picked up just five wickets in the ongoing series at 79.20.
Muralitharan spoke about niggles bothering him. “Two or three years ago, it was not like this. Now my groin is giving me some trouble.”
The Sri Lankan added, “Everything depends on how much my body can take. In Test cricket it is a little hard.” Muralitharan conceded that for someone who determined the course of matches - he was a feared adversary - to be played with comfort was not easy to take mentally.
Only 12 short of a landmark 800 wickets in Tests, Muralitharan said he was not playing for numbers. “To win matches for the side is more important.”
He said his decision to retire from Test cricket after the series against the West Indies later this season seemed to be the right one.
Muralitharan was a touch surprised at his dip in form. “Even in the last series against Sri Lanka, I got wickets whenever the team needed them. I do not know why this is happening now.”
Ahead of the series, Muralitharan appeared disillusioned about the preparation of pitches. The sponsors and the television channels had been exerting pressure on the board to make wickets that last all five days. We are getting flat tracks, he said. He was also saddened by the lack of attention the bowlers in general received when compared to batsmen.