Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has been the mainstay of Sri Lankan bowling attack for a long time. He has single-handedly made the Lankan bowling attack a force to reckon with. He has been called for chucking too but that charge also led to the International Cricket Council (ICC) making some amendments in the rule book to let Muralitharan continue bowling.
Nishant Arora: You talk about controversies and you talk about how it affects your life. How tough it was to relive it everyday when you have cleared once, cleared twice. Still people doubt you and want to teat you. How tough it is?
Muttiah Muralitharan: It's tough. Think about the cyclist who won the Tour de France seven times and every time he was tested but there was nothing wrong with him. So he also went through a tough time. Sportsmen never say die. They think only about the positive things.
Nishant Arora: But you must be happy. If you look back the authorities had to change the rules and it was changed because of Muralitharan.
Muttiah Muralitharan: I don't think so. Muralitharan was not the only bowler. You are getting it wrong. All bowlers have some problem. So you have to think not only about Muralitharan.
Nishant Arora: But you became the symbol for them.
Muttiah Muralitharan: That rule was made by the ICC. I think that they found other bowlers were also having problems. So that is why they changed the rules and it was not only because of me. When you have this type of bowling action then people found that many bowlers are not bowling in a legitimate fashion when it comes to the degree. So the rule was changed.
Nishant Arora: 657 wickets in Tests. When will Muralitharan stop?
Muttiah Muralitharan: I don't know.
Nishant Arora: It is still a long journey ahead. Do you think of 1,000 wickets?
Muttiah Muralitharan: You never know because if I think I will enjoy my game for ever then I will play for ever. So when my body will say no then I will stop.
Nishant Arora: So what is the realistic target?
Muttiah Muralitharan: There is no target.
Nishant Arora: If your body holds up then you are fine.
Muttiah Muralitharan: If I am enjoying then I will play.