Paying glowing tribute to retiring Muttiah Muralitharan, former Pakistani star Saqlain Mushtaq on Friday said the Sri Lankan spinner is the best of his era and world cricket may not see a bowler like him in next 100 years.
Murali, as he is called fondly, will call it quits after playing the first Test against India, starting July 18 in Galle.
"I have no doubt in my mind he was the best spinner of his generation. A champion bowler no matter what some people say. I am sure many batsmen would have heaved a sigh of relief knowing he is going to retire now," Saqlain, also a champion off-spinner of his time, said.
"You can learn a lot from just watching him bowl and his videos are a must see for young spinners. To be honest I don't think in the next 100 years, cricket is going to see a spinner of his caliber," Saqlain, who is now settled in England, said.
Although Murali, eight wickets shy of incredible mark of 800 wickets, will not play Test cricket, he assured his side he will play in the 2011 World Cup.
Saqlain said he spent many hours with Muralitharan discussing the art of spin bowling and found him to be an amiable and honest man.
"The best thing about him is that he had no pretensions or airs about him, and I am sure even after retirement he will be around to help and guide the youngsters aspiring to be successful slow bowlers," he hoped.
Saqlain said that the greatest thing about Murali is that despite the controversies surrounding his action he kept fighting hard and became a great spinner.
"In all fairness I don't think his action is suspect. The fact is that when the ICC cleared his action why should anyone have even raised questions about his action," he said.