Melbourne, Dec.4 : Former Australian leg-spinner and record holder for the most wickets in Tests, Shane Warne has predicted that Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will capture 1000 Test wickets before he retires from international cricket.
Congratulating Murali for breaking his record for the most number of wickets in Tests, Warne said: "He's been a wonderful player for a long period of time. He's an excellent competitor and he's been great for Sri Lankan cricket. He's also a great bloke. I have been to Sri Lanka to help him after the (2004) tsunami and we even have a trophy named after the two of us (for Australia-Sri Lanka Test series).
"He'll probably go on and get 1000 (wickets) now, but today I would just like to say well done on the record," The Australian quoted Warne, as also saying.
Muralitharan took the wicket of Paul Collingwood to become Test cricket's leading wicket-taker with 709. He claimed the record in the first Test against England, in his hometown of Kandy.
Warne took 708 wickets before he retired from international cricket in January this year.
Muralitharan, 35, achieved the landmark in front of about 6000 joyous Sri Lankan fans at the Asgiriya Stadium, including his parents and wife Madhimalan.
The feat marks a new high in the 15-year career of one of the most celebrated bowlers of the modern game whose controversial bent-arm action was questioned in the past by umpires.
The beaming Sri Lankan told a television interviewer during the lunch break that "it was the right time" to achieve the record.
"It's my hometown, my parents are here, my wife is here, all the relatives are here and all my school friends. It's a bigger moment than if I had taken it in Australia. It's the right time, I think. It's not easy to take six wickets in an innings but I managed to let my pressure off now," Muralitharan said.
Murali has claimed 61-five-wicket hauls and 10 or more wickets in a Test an incredible 20 times in his 116 Tests. (ANI)
© 2007 ANI