Colombo: Muttiah Muralitharan, the champion Sri Lankan off-spinner whose international career ended last night in the World Cup final against India, on Sunday admitted that the failure of himself and Suj Randivra had contributed to his team’s defeat.
The record-breaking 38-year-old, who was a doubtful starter for the summit clash following niggles, went wicket-less in his eight-over spell, while fellow off-spinner Randiv finished with none for 43.
“We got enough runs on the board - 274 was a good score. Malinga took two vital wickets but after that we couldn’t crack their side especially in the middle part. The spinners didn’t take enough wickets, that was the main reason,” Muralitharan said here today.
“If I or Suraj took a few wickets then the story would have been different. These things happen in cricket so you have to move on and I’d like to wish the team well for the future. Hopefully, in 2015 they’ll bring home the Cup.”
The legendary spinner, who has been at the helm of so many epic victories for the islanders, was disappointed not to have ended his international career on a high.
For Muralitharan, who holds the world record in both Tests and ODIs with 800 and 534 wickets, yesterday’s final at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai was his last international outing.
“It was a little bit disappointing because my main aim was to win the World Cup,” said Muralitharan on his return to the country.
“But unfortunately we couldn’t do that because India were a better side on the day,” the sole survivor of the 1996 World Cup-winning side told reporters on the team’s return to the country.
Sri Lanka, who rode on Mahela Jayawardene’s unbeaten century to make 274 for six, struck early through Lasith Malinga’s double blow, only to be denied by Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s heroic knocks.
Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara, in the post-match press conference, had defended his decision to play Muralitharan despite the talismanic bowler’s knee, hamstring and groin problems.
“It’s one of those rare days where he hasn’t really done the job for us, but that’s maybe one in 100 games that happens,” Sangakkara said.
“He’s our best bowler, even half fit. But he was fine, he was almost at full fitness. I don’t think it was an issue.”
“We’re going to miss him terribly. Unfortunately, we couldn’t give him a great send off but that’s the way it goes. We were out-played and we have to accept that.”
India captain Dhoni said it was because of his familiarity with Muralitharan that he’d promoted himself above man-of-the-tournament Yuvraj Singh in the batting order.
“I have played a lot with Murali and I know his doosra well,” said Dhoni, a teammate at IPL side Chennai Super Kings. “He knows it too. I put pressure on him.”