"Yes, cricket is actually getting tough. When you are around for such a long time, and players have seen so much of you, it does get tough," said the Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in an interview to Hindustan Times.
One wondered if one had heard it right - Muttiah Muralitharan admitting that cricket was getting tough for him! "Yes, cricket is actually getting tough. When you are around for such a long time, and players have seen so much of you, it does get tough," he reaffirmed.
Did the admission indicate that he was set to bid adieu to international cricket?
"Not at all and all I mean is that with the sharp increase in the volume of cricket, players are now under tremendous pressure and it's become really tough," he said, asserting he wasn't done yet.
"I am aiming for 500 wickets in ODIs and touching the 800-wicket mark in Tests would be great. I still have a few landmarks lined up ahead of me." Are 1000 Test wickets on the radar? "That would be a bit too much, but it all depends on my fitness and how much I can contribute to the team, for you can't use your place (for personal milestones)," he said.
The off-spinner believes the advent of T20 has made things even tougher for the bowlers."These formats are tough on the bowlers as they are designed in favour of the batsmen, unlike Test cricket where one has the time to create chances," he said, adding that adaptability was the key to survive.
Murali made light of the furore caused by Kevin Peitersen's switch-hitting. "Be it switch-hitting or any other unconventional stroke, it's not a problem for the bowlers. If it gives batsmen a chance to score, it also gives us a chance to pick up wickets." he said.