Sri Lankan spin-wizard Muttiah Muralitharan is eagerly waiting to participate in the 2011 World Cup to help his country repeat the 1996 success.
Muralitharan, who recently retired from Test cricket earlier this month but is available for one dayers, said winning the 2011 World Cup would boost the future of the game in Sri Lanka.
“I am hoping victory in next year"s World Cup will not only strengthen our future as a cricketing nation but will also help us produce more world-class cricketers who will go on to entertain the world with their flare, talent, charisma and prowess," The Daily Times quoted Muralitharan, as saying.
The leading Test wicket taker also equated his 800-wicket feat in the oldest version of the game to the island nation"s 1996 World Cup triumph.
“Obviously winning the tournament in the Indian subcontinent in 1996 is something I rate as highly as my 800 Test wickets and reaching the final in the West Indies three years ago was also by no means a small achievement," said Murali.
Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the schedule for the warm-up games ahead of 2011 World Cup.
All the 14 teams would play two games each from February 12 to 18 before the tournament commences on February 19.
Warm-up matches schedule:
February 12: New Zealand v Ireland in Nagpur, Zimbabwe v South Africa in Chennai, West Indies v Kenya in Colombo, Sri Lanka v Netherlands in Pallekele, Bangladesh v Canada in Chittagong
February 13: India v Australia in Bengaluru.
February 15: Australia v South Africa in Bengaluru, Ireland v Zimbabwe in Nagpur, Kenya v Netherlands in Pallekele, Bangladesh v Pakistan in Dhaka.
February 16: India v New Zealand in Chennai, Sri Lanka v West Indies in Colombo, England v Canada in Dhaka.
February 18: England v Pakistan in Dhaka.