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July 31, 2009

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Muralitharan to quit tests next year

SRI Lanka's world record holder spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said yesterday that he planned to retire from test cricket in 2010.

"We don't have many test matches next year but I am thinking that next year's test series against West Indies (in September) will be my last two test matches," Muralitharan, the world's highest wicket-taker in tests and one dayers, told reporters.

The 37-year-old has struggled with a knee injury in recent years and the problem forced him to miss the three-test series against Pakistan.

With surgeons warning him that he faces long-term pain in his knee, the off-spinner said his body could not cope with five-day matches.

"I put in a lot of effort in the past month to get fit," Muralitharan told reporters after Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 36 runs in the first one day international in Dambulla.

"The doctors told me I have to go through (the pain) and train harder because an operation will mean me being out for six to seven months," he said. "They think I'll be able to play for one to two years and told me to have the operation when I finish playing. That means my career is almost over and I am not going to play for long."

However, the spinner plans to carry on in the shorter forms of the sport. "I still want to play on if I can to the 2011 World Cup and I will enjoy playing T20 for a few more years if I can," said Muralitharan, who was named the man of the match yesterday for grabbing two wickets for 46 and scoring 32 runs from 15 balls.

Left-arm fast bowler Thilan Thushara claimed three wickets as Sri Lanka piled up a modest 232 runs but went on to frustrate Pakistan with some tight bowling to skittle them out for 196 in 44.4 overs.


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