DateLine: 20th February 2007
One of the greatest spin bowlers in the history of the game, Muthiah Muralitharan has been hailed as ``magician Murali’’ and ``spin wizard’’ among other such exalted titles. He is deserving of the highest praise for his achievements defy belief. Averaging six wickets per Test his haul of five wicket and ten wicket hauls are unlikely to be beaten. Single handedly he has carried his country’s spin attack on his able shoulders Again not many bowlers have taken over 1000 first class wickets at less than 19 apiece. Murali has also over 1000 international wickets to his name and his feats in ODIs are only overshadowed by his greater deeds in Test matches. A prodigious turner of the ball on any pitch Murali beats the batsman in the air and off the surface. He is also remarkably accurate, is able to bowl the flipper without any change of action and his comparatively newly acquired `doosra’ (the one that goes the other way) spells doom for most batsmen. Reading Murali is the most difficult exam for any batsman for he has so many tricks up his sleeve. Unfortunately he has also been the most controversial cricketer in recent times because of his action that does not satisfy the purists and is based on a weird bent-arm. Shrugging off this controversy Murali has gone on to become the leading Test wicket taker (since surpassed by Shane Warne). But Murali remains ahead on average and strike rate, is three years younger and is tipped to take over at the top again before he finally calls it a day. On sheer force of his monumental achievements Murali is clearly Sri Lanka’s greatest-ever cricketer. Being a member of the victorious 1996 world cup campaign he would be disappointed at not winning the 2007 World Cup losing to Australia in the finals.It was fitting that he surpassed Warne in front of his home crowd in Kandy in Dec 2007 against England to become the leading wicket taker. The way he is going sky is the limit as far as his wicket taking is concerned. Chennai became his second home after getting married to a tamilian. Murali represented Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and was an integral part in helping them reach the finals of the IPL where they eventually lost to Rajasthan Royals.