600 feasible, 1,000 impractical, says Murali

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2002, 16:59 [IST]
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Melbourne: Prodigious Sri Lankan off spinner Muthiah Muralitharan said he is aiming for 600 Test wickets and does not believe he will be durable enough to take 1,000 wickets.

"I would like 600 wickets, that's about another 180," he said on Thursday. "It's hard to take wickets, it depends on how good you play because sometimes you can drop down or you can do well. It depends on how you do." Muralitharan is here to receive treatment on his injured left shoulder from the orthopaedic surgeon, who operated on a similar injury to his bowling arm three years ago. The injury is likely to keep Muralitharan sidelined for six weeks, ruling him out of the first two Tests of the upcoming three-Test series against England. He tore ligaments above his left shoulder joint while fielding in the Sharjah Cup final against Pakistan on April 17. The 30-year-old recently became the youngest player ever to reach 400 Test wickets. He has averaged about 80 wickets per year recently to move to 412, only 107 behind all-time record holder Courtney Walsh of the West Indies. Muralitharan and Australian leg spinner Shane Warne (450) seem certain to overtake Walsh in the next couple of years, fitness permitting. Warne, 32, will probably get there first as Australia has a busy programme in the next 12 months including 12 Tests against Pakistan, England and the West Indies. But the Australian said during the recent tour of South Africa that Muralitharan was bowling so well and was so durable he could one day reach the magical 1,000-wicket mark. Muralitharan does not think he will remain in the game long enough for that to be achievable. But if he keeps playing for another five years as planned, he should end his career as the greatest wicket-taker in Test cricket history. Muralitharan has not caught up with Warne during his time in Melbourne but he paid tribute to the great Australian leggie. "I think he is the greatest spinner because wrist spin is very hard to bowl, it's difficult to control the ball," said Muralitharan. "He has bowled the best."

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