The 17th of March, '96, will always be remembered as one of the most greatest days in the history of Sri Lanka cricket. The Lankans created history by beating mighty Australia in the World Cup final. And Muralitharan was an integral part of that brave team.
Here are the excerpts:
How is life treating you after retirement?
Very good. After retirement (from) cricket, I have done coaching in India. I was the spin bowling consultant for Bengal. And now I am the mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League.
Do you see yourself becoming a full-time coach in future?
No. This is enough (smiles).
The 17th of March, 1996. A historic day for Sri Lanka cricket as you and your team mates lifted the World Cup. Can you share some memories?
We won the World Cup in 1996. It was a brilliant moment for all of us. After that, we were (unable to) win another World Cup. After that '96 win, we played two more World Cup finals but could not win it. I think the '96 World Cup win is the happiest moment in Sri Lankan cricket history. Our team were very good at that time. That’s why captain Arjuna Ranatunga and the team brought glory (for) the country.
What did the '96 side specialise in?
We had some very good experienced players in our squad and also talented young players. That was the main reason behind our success. We had a good chance of winning the cup and eventually we won it by blend of experienced performers and young talents.
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Muralitharan celebrates with his team mates after the 1996 World Cup final win over Australia INTERNET
How do you rate Ranatunga as captain?
I think he is one of the best captains I (have) played under.
You almost completed 20 years in international cricket. Who are the toughest batsmen you bowled against?
Anyone who is batting well is tough to get out. If (I have) to mention some names, then I can say, Brian Lara was tough. Sachin Tendulkar was tough. Actually, there were a few players in the list. But I must mention these two.
You finished with 800 Test wickets. Any regrets at not targeting 1000?
No, no (smiles). I was happily retired. I am happy what I have achieved in my career.
You also bagged 534 ODI wickets. Which format was tougher to get wickets?
Obviously Test cricket. Test wickets are difficult to get.
Are you following the Sri Lanka-Bangladesh series?
Yes. I followed a bit. Bangladesh did not play well in the first Test. But Sri Lanka played really well. But in this Test (second Test) Bangladesh are playing really good and giving a tough fight to Sri Lanka.
What are your thoughts on Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan?
I think he is a very good all-rounder. As a spinner, he is definitely good. But as an all-rounder, I think he is one of the best.
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Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan raises his bat after reaching his fifth Test century, against Sri Lanka AFP
You were the mentor at Sunrisers last season. How do you rate Mustafizur Rahman?
Mustafizur is brilliant, not only for Bangladesh, but also for SRH. I feel if he is nurtured, he can certainly have a long career ahead of him.
Rangana Herath is carrying the torch for the Lankans at the moment. How do you assess his performances over the past few years?
He is bowling very well in the last seven or eight years. He is doing really well. I know he is a great bowler. He has played with me. He is a nice person as well. I am happy to see all the success he has achieved so far. And it is great to see (him) captaining the side as well.
Which spinner do you think is currently bowling better than any other slow bowler right now?
I think Ravichandran Ashwin is bowling really well at the moment. He is very good.