Muralitharan laments on the fact that perfection needs time and proper planning © Getty Images
Muralitharan laments on the fact that perfection needs time and proper planning © Getty Images

“Perfection doesn’t just happen to you, perfection needs to be planned,” said Muttiah Muralitharan, the legendary and highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. This mantra has been a big factor in shaping up the career of Sri Lanka’s premier spinner. He explained about the most memorable moments of his cricketing career and emphasized the importance of the 1996 World Cup and the one-off Test against England at Kensington Oval in 1998. “We were not considered worthy of more than a single Test and we won by a whopping margin of 10 wickets. The reason why both these wins remain special is that on both occasions, we fought popular perceptions and emerged triumphant, thanks to careful planning, painstaking research, well thought out strategy, and perfect execution,” he said. READ: Shane Warne set to clash with Muttiah Muralitharan in GOAT contest; Shahid Afridi eliminated

According to Times of India, the spinner added that the essence of winning increases when nobody gives you a chance and always adds an edge over any win.  Stating the reason for some of his side’s top-notch performances, he said, “What strengthened us was a firm faith in our own abilities, particularly in subcontinent conditions, and perfect bonding within the team.”

He also suggested that it was important for them to project a united image because they were turning into idols for many youngsters in their country. Recalling his younger days, he said,” I was seven or eight when I began playing cricket, after I went to boarding school. This was the late ’70s and early ’80s, when Sri Lankan cricket was still in its infancy. The game was very popular, but Test status had come to us only in 1982, so there were no national role models yet. Besides, there was nothing like the constant stream of sport that we have on TV these days. In boarding school, we didn’t even have full access to radio so we played purely for the love of the game, without really being inspired by any idols, or consciously thinking we would play for the country.”

The former cricketer spoke about the legends he knew growing up. In his initial playing days, his coach used to show video cassettes of Sir Vivian Richards. Highlighting upon his inspiration, Muralitharan quoted,” If I had to name an inspiration, it would probably be (basketball legend) Michael Jordan, for his pursuit of perfection, the huge impact he had on his sport, and the way he could single-handedly carry his team to victory.” He concluded by saying that by achieving those victories in the late 90s, they were breaking new ground and there was no better sight for them than breaking history and making new inroads.