New Delhi: Spin great Muttiah Muralitharan has showed his gratitude to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mentioning his name while praising the contribution of Indian origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
“It is a pleasant surprise for me that he ( PM Modi) mentioned my name in his address,” Muralitharan said.
A gracious Muralitharan added that it's indeed a "great honour" for him that the PM of world's largest democracy has mentioned his name, while also talking about the "identity" of his community.
“India is the largest democracy in the world and it is really a great honour for me because he was mentioning that in my country and was talking about the identity of my community. It’s a great thing,” he said.
Yesterday, while addressing Indian-origin Tamils in Colombo, Modi said that the community "gifted" the world ace spinner Muralitharan and national icon 'Puratchi Thalaivar' MGR.
The 45-year-old then stressed on his relationship with India, saying he married to a south Indian girl, Madhimalar Ramamurthy, from Chennai.
"I have great relations with India as you know that I am married to a south Indian girl. Our ancestors are from India and we are like fourth or fifth generation. It is a very close network," he emphasised.
The legend also hinted that with India's help, the island nation, which was marred by a thirty-year long civil war, in the Indian Ocean can flourish.
"It is a very close relationship. For Sri Lanka, India is like an elder brother. That's the kind of relationship we share. We need India's help and India can help us in so many ways. That will be great for our country," he added.
Known as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game, Murali has 800 and 544 wickets respectively in 133 Tests and 350 ODI matches.
He is currently in India, working as the bowling coach of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad.
(With PTI inputs)