Murali - Thanks to everyone
Muttiah Muralitharan was grateful to those who had helped him after reaching 800 wickets in his final Test.
Last Updated: 22/07/10 5:04pm
Muttiah Muralitharan thanked those who had helped him throughout his career after signing off from Test cricket with his 800th wicket.
Muralitharan became the first man to reach the milestone with his final scalp, that of Pragyan Ojha, as Sri Lanka thrashed India by 10 wickets in Galle.
The 38-year-old, wearing his trademark wide smile, was mobbed by his team-mates before being carried shoulder-high around the field to allow him to acknowledge an adoring public.
"I'd like to thank Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa for coming to support me," said Muralitharan.
"Thanks to my wife and family for their support. To my team-mates, past and present, to the cricket board and officials, and the public of Sri Lanka.
"Thank you for supporting me all through these 19 years."
Muralitharan made his Test debut in 1992 against Australia but became embroiled in controversy three years later when he was called for throwing by umpire Darrell Hair.
"What happened in 1995, I did not expect that and I was disappointed," he added.
"But at the same time, there were people who supported me; the cricket board, (former skipper) Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda da Silva gave me a lot of guidance at that time and only because of that could I come through."
Muralitharan insists he bears no grudges against Hair, and also Ross Emerson who twice called him for throwing.
"It's the job of the umpires. The umpires make their judgments with the naked eye, so nothing against them," he continued.
"I have no grudge against them. As long as I can prove I am technically good, I can hit back and I am happy to have made it through the tough times."
Muralitharan will continue to make himself available for the shorter forms of the game.
"I spoke to the selectors and I have told them that I'm available for the World Cup if they need me," the Kandy-born bowler said.
"Otherwise, I'd like to keep playing Twenty20 cricket as well, so that's the plan."
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara insisted that the manner of his side's win was the perfect parting gift for the legendary spinner.
"From the start, our aim was to win the Test, which was the best send-off for Murali," he said.
"The fact that he took 800 wickets and we won was extra special.
"Having said that, all the guys made a concerted effort to not get too carried away with what was happening around us, and make sure that they enjoyed all that they did for Murali."