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IPL Staff in Bengaluru 14 April 2012 - 09:43pm IST

We must look ahead: Murali

RCB off-spinner says his team needs to move on after CSK loss

In the three matches he has played so far in IPL 2012, Muttiah Muralitharan has picked up eight wickets at an economy-rate of 6.41. The wily old Sri Lankan off-spinner has shown that he still has the ability to win matches for his team. His brilliant return catch in the last match against the Chennai Super Kings showed that his reflexes are still as sharp as ever. But the highest wicket-taker in international cricket is not taking anything for granted, especially his place in the playing 11 of the strong Royal Challengers Bangalore team.

Ahead of RCB’s home game against the Rajasthan Royals, Muralitharan spoke to the media on various issues, including his performance and his team’s composition.

Excerpts:

On the last-over loss against CSK in the previous match


Every team plays 16 games and no one wins all of them. Whoever has better momentum, will qualify for top-four. All we need to do is forget the last match and look ahead and prepare for the coming games.

On whether he expected to be in the playing 11 in all matches right from the beginning

I didn’t expect to play from game one itself because RCB were a settled team from the last season, when they finished as the runners-up. But the opportunity was created for me because [Tillakaratne] Dilshan was playing Test cricket and [Chris] Gayle got injured. I grabbed it with both hands. I’ll keep fighting for my place because there’s no guarantee of being in the playing 11. I’ll have to keep on performing.

On whether the lack of a fifth bowler is hurting RCB

You can’t have specialist fifth and sixth bowlers because you also need to balance the side. In the last game, we had some injuries in our team and couldn’t play a certain bowlers. But once Gayle starts bowling, we’ll have more options in our bowling.

On Chris Gayle’s fitness


Gayle is 100 percent fit. He was cramping in the last game because of the Chennai heat, and we didn’t want to risk him with bowling. Also, he’s just recovered from a groin injury, and hence we want to be completely sure before thrusting him into bowling.

On whether different amount of money paid to everyone plays on the players’ mind


Once you step on the field, money doesn’t matter. A player’s value is not decided by the money he’s paid, but the way he performs on the field. Franchise owners have different ideas and strategies to buy players and they pay them accordingly. If a world-class player goes for USD 100,000, it doesn’t mean that is his value. It’s just that the franchise thinks that’s what he is worth in the T20 format. Nobody gets disheartened because of that. When we step on the field, every player just wants to win it for RCB.

On playing cricket after international retirement

I feel I could have played international cricket for a few more years. But then, I thought I have achieved enough and it would be wise to retire when on top, after the 2011 World Cup. But I’ve been playing T20 cricket in various countries, and will continue to do so. I’m getting the opportunities now, and I want to make the most of them. I don’t want to regret in the future that I could’ve played a bit longer.

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