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Doff Your Hat to the Master of 'Doosra' Muttiah Muralitharan

January 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 143

Staggering is the only word that comes to mind when one thinks of Muttiah Muralitharan. Arguably the greatest spinner in the history of cricket, Muralitharan has amassed 792 wickets in 132 Tests and it's impossible to even imagine that that someone will ever join ranks with the Sri Lankan who is playing his last Test as you read this.

With Sri Lanka batting first and the rains playing havoc it would be a crying shame if after such a glorious career Muralitharan doesn't hit the 800 mark.

Muralitharan's career has been one crazy roller-coaster ride. To excuse his brilliance by citing a birth deformity that rendered one of his arms shorter, hence the bowling action would be demeaning the legend of Murali. Since the Boxing Day Test match in 1995 when Darrell Hair raised suspicion on his action Murali has been besieged with controversy. Three years later he was accused of exceeding the 15 degree tolerance level agreed upon by ICC while delivering his famous 'doosra'.

Invented by Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan the 'doosra' is the off-spinner's equivalent of the leg spinner's googly that spins in the opposite direction to standard. Murali then bowled his arsenal and heart out once and for all to let his doubters rest but while ICC cleared him of his action there are many who refuse to accept his greatness.

What separates Murali from any other spinner in the game is his ability to run through batting sides irrespective of the pitch he plays on. His record with in the subcontinent has been as impressive with his performance elsewhere. While his career average is 22.7 it's just over 33 against Indian players, who are considered to be the best spin players in the world.

While both spinners have been not so successful against India, when compared to his biggest rival Shane Warne's average of 47.18, Murali stands taller at 33.34. One of the most fascinating and enduring rivalries of the game Murali and Warne have always thrown up the statistics in a tizzy. While Murali played more Tests on spin friendly pitches, he was usually the main bowler in the Sri Lankan attack and Warne has played the most against the likes of England and always had great supporting from the likes of Glenn McGarth and Jason Gillespie.

When compared in their performance against the English side, Warne has 129 wickets from 22 Tests while Murali has 48 from just 6 matches!

The other factor that separates the two is the sheer number of matches played against teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. In 25 matches against the two Murali picked up 172 wickets while Warne played only three matches against the two teams! Sans these wickets Murali's number dwindles to 616 (from 792) but there is hardly a dent in Warne's numbers (691 without the 17).

It'll always be very hard to choose between the two and this is made very clear from the last 50 Tests of the legends. They both averaged at a little less than 24 against the top teams in this decade. But then Warne never played much Sachin Tendulkar who in any case wasn't enjoying great form but the other Indian greats like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman took him to the cleaners.

No other player in the recent past has been the cynosure of many things both good and bad in the recent past. Since the time he was called up for his action a decade and a half ago by the Australians and as he was the only one who could really challenge Warne's dominance, Murali has been at the receiving end of most non-subcontinent players and officials.

Befittingly Murali's statement that he's happy to end his career against the number 1 Test side in the world sums up his relationship with the Australians. Even people like Bishen Singh Bedi have called him names and even demanded that ICC ban the doosra once Murali retires.

In spite of such opposition Murali never lost his wide grin or his ability to dominate the game for most of his 18 year long international career. It would really be a shame if the rain gods deprive Murali of the 8 more wickets to retire with 800 Tests scalps.

I am a Delhi-based author who writes for as part of Buzz Bureau team. To know about IPL 2012 teams or IPL T20 Schedule please visit

Source: EzineArticles
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