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Muttiah Muralitharan plans to retire after World Cup


Archive: Muralitharan takes 800th Test wicket

Legendary Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has confirmed that he will retire from international cricket after the forthcoming World Cup in Asia.

The 38-year-old quit Test cricket last July after taking a record 800 wickets.

But he has remained in his country's limited-overs side and will bow out after the World Cup, co-hosted by Sri Lanka, which begins on 19 February.

However, he will continue to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League after signing for new franchise Kochi.

Muralitharan, who helped Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup and was a losing finalist in 2007, has taken 517 wickets in 339 one-day internationals in a career which has spanned nearly two decades at the top level and left him as the world's leading wicket-taker in both the major formats of the game.

Tests: 133 matches, 800 wickets, average 22.72
One-day internationals: 339 matches, 517 wickets, average 23.11
Twenty20 internationals: 12 matches, 13 wickets, average 22.84

"I'm going to retire from international cricket, totally, after this World Cup," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Sri Lanka host West Indies in three one-day internationals before the World Cup, when they will face Canada, Pakistan, Kenya, Australia, Zimbabwe and New Zealand in Group A.

Crucially for Sri Lanka, the first five of those games will be played on home soil, before they face the Kiwis in Mumbai.

"Our preparation has been good, but I think we have a good chance because we're playing in Sri Lanka," said Muralitharan.

"There won't be a huge [home] advantage, but it will have a little bit of impact.

"It's very difficult to compare the 1996 team to this team, as it's two different generations.

"We have experienced players and young players, and our side has done very well for the last two years in one-day cricket.

"England are a very good side, but it depends on how they play in sub-continent conditions, which are very different to Australia or England as it favours spin bowling.


"Graeme Swann has done really well for England, I think he's one of the best spinners in the world."

Meanwhile, he told reporters at a training session in Colombo that as well as signing to play in the IPL for the next two years, he was "also looking at similar work in New Zealand and perhaps England."

But he ruled out an immediate move into coaching, adding: "There are plenty of coaches and lots of talented people out there.

"I will take things as they come. For the moment, no coaching stints."

Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates a wicket
95 v Pakistan (in 64 ODIs)
74 v India (in 62)
68 v New Zealand (in 39)
56 v Zimbabwe (in 30)
53 v Australia (in 39)
49 v South Africa (in 32)
32 v West Indies (in 25)
31 v Bangladesh (in 31)
26 v England (in 17)
33 v others (13 v Kenya, 4 v Ireland, 4 v Netherlands, 3 v Africa XI, 3 v ICC World XI, 3 v UAE, 2 v Bermuda, 1 v Canada

Born in Kandy, Muralitharan's unique bent-arm bowling action, caused by a deformity from birth, has meant that he has courted controversy at times during his career.

Some umpires and former players have questioned his action's legality - notably in Australia, where umpires Darrell Hair and Ross Emerson no-balled him for throwing.

The mechanics of his bowling action have been investigated and cleared on more than one occasion by the International Cricket Council, although in 2005 the ICC amended its rules to allow bowlers to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

Throughout much of his career, he battled with Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne for the title of the world's leading wicket-taker.

But Warne retired from internationals in 2007 with 708 wickets from 145 Tests, and 293 victims from 194 ODIs - although he, too, continues to play in the IPL.

"Murali", as he is known throughout the cricket world, has also earned praise for his humanitarian work, such as helping with reconstruction efforts after the Asian tsunami hit Sri Lanka in December 2004.

Tillakaratne Dilshan

Archive - Murali takes 3-29 in World Twenty20 semi-final in 2009 (UK users only)

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see also
Muralitharan reaches 800 landmark
22 Jul 10 |  Sri Lanka
Reaction to Muttiah Muralitharan's 800
22 Jul 10 |  Sri Lanka
Cricket legend Murali on retiring
22 Jul 10 |  South Asia
Muralitharan to retire from Tests
06 Jul 10 |  Sri Lanka
Murali breaks ODI wicket record
05 Feb 09 |  Cricket
Muralitharan breaks Test record
03 Dec 07 |  Sri Lanka
Muralitharan - the record-breaker
03 Dec 07 |  Sri Lanka
Murali cleared by yet more tests
04 Feb 06 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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