Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

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In India, cricket surpasses all when it comes to massive fandom. Just in time to witness this love for the sport, Sri Lankan cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan is in the host country for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

Former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan(PTI)
Former Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan(PTI)

“India has a better chance of winning [the World Cup],” he tells us in a candid chat. “They are the home team; they know the wicket… But who knows, maybe there is an underdog!” says Muralitharan, who feels spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be “crucial for Team India”. “I think Rohit Sharma will also do well. Another player to watch out for is Hardik Pandya,” he adds.

The former spin wizard holds two unbeaten feats — 800 Test wickets and 534 ODI wickets. His illustrious career is set to take shape on the big screen, in the form of a biopic titled 800. “Initially, I was apprehensive. But I said yes as more than cricket, it’s about the struggle of a player, the ups and downs,” he shares.

The 51-year-old goes on to confess he’s quite the film buff. A fan of actor Shah Rukh Khan, he has recently watched Jawaan. “Sholay (1975) is my favourite. During the lockdown, I must have watched about 500 movies! I like (actors) Rajinikanth, Nani, Mohanlal and after KGF, Yash.”

He calls “unpredictable” Virendra Sehwag as the toughest batsman to bowl.

Muralitharan talks about his evergreen smile and tells how well it worked in his favour. “When you have a team like Australia sledging on you, then either you fall in their trap or ignore them with a smile. I did the latter and it worked well for me,” he say with a beaming smile.

He has a word of wisdom for youngsters. “Every child has some talent, so at a early age identify your talent and pursue it. Those who do that become something in life (in their field) and here parents need to play a role. Besides, accept your failures and move ahead from the learnings,” adds Muralitharan.

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