Muttiah Muralitharan has seen the glory days of Sri Lankan cricket. In his long and illustrious international career, Muralitharan - one of the legends of the game - was part of Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning side in 1996 and also featured in the ODI World Cup final in 2011 before going down to India in the final.
However, things have gone awry for the island nation over the last decade. Though a young Sri Lankan side clinched the Asia Cup title last year, it has struggled to get going in big-ticket events. Currently, the team is busy featuring in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe, and its hopes of making it to the main event - to be held in India in October-November - looks bright.
“It is unfortunate for a country like us to be playing the qualifiers,” Muralitharan said at the ICC World Cup launch event on Tuesday.
“But I think Sri Lanka has a very good talent, they have good spin bowlers and good batters. Unfortunately, we have not played up to our potential for the last 4-5 years. We had a successful Asia Cup but that is T20 cricket. T20 and 50 overs cricket is totally different,” the spin legend said.
In the ongoing Qualifiers event, Sri Lanka has won all three games and sits pretty at the top of the table in Group B, with six points.
“They are doing well in Zimbabwe at the moment. We will be a threat to all the good teams, we are not going to be pushovers. But about Sri Lanka winning the tournament, I have doubts because there are much better teams,” Muralitharan said, before adding with a smile: “but you never know, in 1996 nobody counted us [as favourites]. Still, anything can happen. To win this cup, you need a little bit of luck…”
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