Muttiah Muralitharan to retire from Test cricket in 2010

Record-breaking Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan has announced he will retire from Test cricket during 2010, bringing an end to a Test career that saw him claim the record for most Test dismissals but also had him dogged by controversy over his bowling action.

Muralitharan, who has 770 Test wickets at an average of 22.18, has said he will retire after the two-test series next year against the West Indies. Sri Lanka also have two home tests against New Zealand and three away in India later in the year, leaving him a target of reaching 800 wickets by the time he hangs up the creams.

The off-spinner missed the most recent series against Pakistan, which Sri Lanka won 2-0, with a torn tendon in his right knee. Sri Lanka’s test schedule has been crowded out recently by one-day and Twenty20 cricket, to the extent that the West Indies series is the only one scheduled for 2010 at this stage.

Muralitharan passed Shane Warne’s previous record of 708 Test wickets in December 2007, but has begun somewhat of a trend in world cricket with his controversial bowling action, which saw him consistently no-balled during one infamous tour of Australia. Murali has spawned a host of successors with increasingly suspect actions, leading Australian coaches to recently state for the record that they will not teach young bowlers Murali’s trademark “doosra” delivery as they claimed it was not in the spirit of the game.

As is the way with all high-profile Test cricketers in the modern game, Muralitharan is expected to bowl on for a fair few years in Twenty20 competitions, not only for Sri Lanka but in lucrative domestic competitions like the Indian Premier League.