Muttiah Muralitharan has hinted this week's third Test is likely to be his last in England - but his team-mates are not yet ready to take him at his word.
The master off-spinner is not scheduled for another Test tour of this country until 2011, by which time he will be 39. But as with his great world-beating spin rival Shane Warne before him, it seems there may yet be some room for re-consideration when it comes to Murali's English swansong.
The suggestion he could yet be back to torment British batsmen came yesterday from the Sri Lanka opener Michael Vandort, as the tourists prepared for the final Test of their three-match series at Trent Bridge.
"You never know what's in Murali's mind," Vandort said. "He may say it is going to be his last match, but you could find him back here in a few years' time."
Warne assured one and all he would not play Test cricket in England again after his feats in Australia's Ashes defeat last summer; yet he has admitted he is already considering one last hurrah in 2009... when he too will be 39.
As for Murali, Vandort hopes he is around for a few more battles yet. "That's the type of character he is, and the more he plays the better for us," said the opener - whose defiant hundred in the second Test at Edgbaston encouraged Sri Lanka, along with Murali's 10 wickets, as they went 1-0 down in this series.Reuse content