Barely a few days into retirement and there is something in Test cricket that Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muraliatharan is already missing --bowling to Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar.
Muralitharan brought down the curtains on his glittering 18-year-old career after guiding Sri Lanka to a thumping 10-wicket triumph over India at Galle.
"I am going to miss the dressing room environment. The challenges of five-day cricket and first and foremost bowling to great players like Sachin Tendulkar. I will miss this," the wily off-spinner told reporters in an interview from Colombo.
Muralitharan, however, neither regrets his decision nor does he think that it was a premature one.
"I don`t think that it was a premature decision. I was thinking about it since long and I thought it was the perfect time," said the eye-popping legend.
Muralitharan retired from Test cricket after reaching his 800 wickets. He got the 800th wicket with his final ball in Test cricket.
The affable bowler said he was not confident of reaching the milestone.
"Many people, including my wife, suggested that I should play the whole series against India but I wanted to play only the Galle Test. Frankly speaking I was not at all confident of getting eight wickets need to touch 800.”
"I was not even thinking about that. Winning was more important for me and I was concentrating on that. Although I felt on the top of the world when I got Pragyan Ojha`s wicket," he said
"All my teammates hugged me. Everyone was very happy. That was an invaluable moment for me and I can never forget that."
Muralitharan does not agree that his record is for keeps and no bowler wopuld be able to break it.
"This is cricket. You can not guarantee anything. Someone may cross the 800 Test wickets mark tomorrow. Even when I started playing I never thought of making a world record one day," said the bowler, who has taken 515 ODI wickets.
Talking about his future plans, Muralitharan wishes to play Twenty20 Cricket for the next couple of years but no he has plans to enter politics like former captain Arjuna Ranatunga and Sanath Jayasuriya.
"I want to play Twenty20 cricket for the next two or three years. I would love to remain a part of Chennai Super Kings provided the IPL franchise wants me.”
"Next year`s ODI world cup is also on my radar but it`s upto the selectors and coach whether they want me or not. As far as politics is concerned, it`s not my cup of tea," said Muralitharan.
When asked if he would like to groom Indian spinners, Muralitharan said Anil Kumble will be a better option for that.
"I think Anil will be a better option for that. He understands Indian Cricket and was an excellent captain," he said.
Muralitharan said he felt overwhembled by the love and respect showered on him by great players like Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram and Sourav Ganguly.
"I feel privileged that such players are saying good things about me. I have made many friends all around the world and I am proud of that.