New Delhi:Proud owner of the unique record of being the highest wicket-taker in both Test and ODI formats of the game, Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan said it was his self-belief which kept him going.
The off-spinner put behind chucking allegations and cleared umpteen bio-mechanical tests before establishing himself as an all-time great spinner.
Already the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with 769 scalps under his belt, Muralitharan on Thursday achieved the ODI feat as well when he dismissed Gautam Gambhir. It took him past Wasim Akram's record of 502 ODI wickets and the Lankan spinner said it could not have been possible but for his self-belief.
"I have always played as a team man. During hard times I kept fighting and tried to prove myself every time I went into the field. I never though about past because if you keep on thinking about past, you cannot perform," said Muralitharan.
"You need to always keep faith in yourself, then only you can achieve great things in life," he added.
The legendary off-spinner, who now has a mind-boggling 1272 wickets to his name in both forms of the game, dedicated the achievement to his family and countrymen and said without their support it wouldn't have been possible.
"When I was young everyone helped me -- from the captain, to the cricket board. I dedicate this feat to my family, my wife and to all the Sri Lankans. They stood by me in my good as well as bad times," he said.
Naming Viv Richards as his childhood idol, the 36-year-old spinner rued his luck, never getting to bowl to the West Indian batting legend.
"My childhood hero was Viv Richards. I always looked upto him, but I couldn't play with Richards although I played with greats like Kapil Dev," he said.