Sat, Jan 22, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Sri Lanka’s Murali plans to quit cricket after the World Cup

AFP, COLOMBO

Muttiah Muralitharan addresses the media in Colombo yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Record-breaking Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said yesterday he would retire from international cricket after this year’s World Cup.

“This World Cup will be my last outing,” Muralitharan, 38, told reporters on the sidelines of a training session in Colombo. “I am retiring totally from international cricket thereafter.”

The mega one-day event, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, starts on Feb. 19.

Muralitharan, the world’s leading wicket-taker in both Tests (800) and one-dayers (517), bowed out of Test matches in July last year after the opening match against India in Galle, Sri Lanka.

“My time is up. I have signed up to play for two years in the IPL [Indian Premier League]. I am also looking at similar work in New Zealand and perhaps England,” the off-spinner said.

Muralitharan said that he was currently focusing on the World Cup, which ends on April 2.

“This is my fourth World Cup. We won in 1996 and came close in 2007 by reaching the final. This would be a memorable one for me and for Sri Lankan fans,” he said.

Sri Lanka will host 12 Cup matches, including three at a new 22,000 seat stadium in Murali’s home district of Kandy.

The other nine matches will be played at the renovated Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and a new cricket facility in Hambantota in the island’s south.

Muralitharan said he had no immediate plans to switch to coaching despite reports last year that he was planning to team up with retired Indian spinner Anil Kumble to start a spin academy for youngsters.

“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,” Muralitharan said.

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