Only Harbhajan can match my Test record, says Murali
Retiring Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan on Wednesday said among the current crop of slow bowlers, only Harbhajan Singh can match his record of scalping nearly 800 Test wickets.
Muralitharan, who will quit the longer version after the first Test against India beginning on July 18 at Galle, said the Indian off-spinner stood the best chance of emulating his feat.
“I think only Harbhajan can do this. I don’t know how old is he and how long he will continue. But he is the only one who can achieve this feat in Test Cricket,” Muralitharan told said from Colombo.
With 792 Test wickets under his belt from 132 matches, Muralitharan needs eight scalps in his final Test match to reach the 800-mark. In comparison, 30-year-old Harbhajan has 355 scalps from 83 Test matches so far.
With Twenty20 cricket taking precedence over other formats of the game, Murali feared slow bowlers might struggle to survive and get where he has reached. “In current scenario Test cricket is dying. One-day cricket does not have a bright future. Only Twenty20 is going to survive. So, it will be difficult for any slow bowler to survive so long,” he said.
The wily off-spinner is just eight wickets away from the 800-mark but Muralitharan, who scalped 515 wickets from 337 ODIs, insisted he was not chasing any record.
“I don’t run after records. I have the world record in my name. Although, if I could get eight more wickets, it will be a good way to end. I am sure I will be able to do that in one match. If not, no worries,” said the ace spinner.
Looking back at his illustrious career, Muralitharan identified batting greats Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara as his toughest opponents. “If we talk about consistency, then no other batman can match Sachin and Lara. They are the best against whom I have bowled.
“I had to do extra effort against them. I am happy that I will be able to bowl to Sachin in my last Test,” he said. Besides being the most successful bowler in the history of international cricket, Muralitharan has been part of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup winning team but the off-spinner does have some regrets.