Muttiah Muralitharan is planning to bring an end to an illustrious career by retiring from Test cricket after playing in the opening Test against India in Galle later this month.
The prolific 37-year-old spinner, the leading wicket-taker in Tests and one-day internationals, will make himself available for selected one day games for Sri Lanka and will be available for selection should his country need him for the 2011 World Cup, for which they are joint-hosts.
His decision brings his staggering Test career to a close after claiming 792 wickets in 132 Tests, a record which includes 66 five-wicket hauls and 22 10-wicket hauls, and could become the first player to reach 800 Test wickets on Galle’s traditional spin-friendly surface.
Muralitharan also had successful county stints with Kent and Lancashire, where he forged a close friendship with England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, but his career was forever clouded with controversy about the legality of his action.
He was twice called for having an illegal action three times in his career, in Australian in 1995-6 and in 1998-9 and again in a three-match series against Australia in 2004, but despite numerous tests by the International Cricket Council they cleared him each time.
Muralitharan’s wristy bowling technique enabled him to pass Shane Warne’s world record of 708 wickets in December 2007, fittingly on his home ground at Kandy, and over-took Wasim Akram’s world record of 502 one-day international victims two years later.