Colombo: With Muttiah Muralitharan all set to retire from international cricket after the World Cup, Sri Lankan team wants to win the coveted trophy as a farewell gift for the spinning legend.
The 38-year-old veteran, who holds record 800 wickets in Tests and 521 in ODI, quit the longer version of the game in July last year and is now playing in the mega-event for the fourth and the final time.
“He is a special person, a legend. Everyone in the team wants to give him (Murali) a good send off. We want to win the Cup for Murali. It will be a great tribute,” said teammate Chamara Kapugedera during the team’s practice session here at R Premadasa Stadium.
The right-handed batsman also said that Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions and 2007 runners-up, were keen to lift the trophy for their fans.
“The Sri Lankan crowd have been very supportive of us, even in bad times. So we are working hard to bring the Cup home again for our supporters too,” Kapugedera said.
Sri Lanka, on Saturday will take on Pakistan, who have never lost a World Cup match against the formers in their six previous meetings.
But Kapugedera said his team is well-equipped to face any challenge from Pakistan.
“Pakistan are a good team. They have a good combination of bowlers and batsmen. Yes, the pressure is there when we play them. But then again, we are also a good team with a good combination. Saturday’s game should be a good one,” he said.
Kapugedera also expressed confidence that the Lankan batsmen were ready to counter the hostile Pakistani bowling attack.
“I think our top order is prepared for the challenge. Our top-order has faced good fast bowlers before. We have had a very good stint in Australia too (last year). The guys are up for the challenge and we are looking forward to delivering the goods,” he said.