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Player Profile(#23)…Muttiah Muralitharan(Sri Lanka)

Posted by wildkiwi25 on May 12, 2008

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Muttiah Muralitharan (Tamil: முத்தையா முரளிதரன் born 17 April 1972 in Kandy, Sri Lanka), often referred to as Murali, is a Sri Lankan cricketer who was rated the greatest Test-Match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2002.

He is Test cricket’s highest wicket-taker, having overtaken the previous record-holder Shane Warne on December 3, 2007. Muralitharan had held the record before when he surpassed West Indies’ Courtney Walsh’s 519 wickets in 2004. But he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne. He is also second in the list of wicket-takers in One Day Internationals.

Averaging over six wickets per Test, Muttiah Muralitharan is one of the most successful bowlers in the game and the greatest player in Sri Lanka’s history. He plays domestic cricket for the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, and county cricket for Lancashire as an overseas player.

On 28 August 28, 1992 at the age of 20, Muralitharan made his debut against Australia at the Khettarama Stadium and claimed 3 for 141. Craig McDermott was his first Test wicket. His freakish action and his angular run-up showed that this was no run-of-the-mill spinner. During his first test, there was one dismissal which convinced many of Muralitharan’s special powers. Tom Moody’s leg-stump was dislodged when he shouldered arms to a delivery that pitched at least two feet outside the off-stump.

The youthful Muralitharan went from strength to strength, playing a major part in Sri Lanka’s back-to-back Test victories against England and New Zealand in 1992-93. It was at this point in his career that he struck a close bond with his leader, mentor and one time business partner, the authoritative captain Arjuna Ranatunga. This relationship formed the bedrock of his success and meant that there were few doubts about his status as the team’s sole wicket-taker. Ranatunga was thoroughly convinced that Muralitharan’s precocious talent would signal a new era in Sri Lanka’s short Test history.

In August 1993 at Moratuwa, Muralitharan captured 5 for 104 in South Africa’s first innings, his first five-wicket haul in Tests. His wickets include Kepler Wessels, Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes.

Muralitharan has continued to baffle batsman outside the shores of Sri Lanka, irrespective of the team’s performance. In Sri Lanka’s humiliating drubbing at the hands of India in 1993-94, where all three Tests were innings defeats, Muralitharan was the sole success, with 12 wickets in the rubber. His perseverance in the face of some astronomical scores by the fearsome quartet of Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Navjot Sidhu and Vinod Kambli was in sharp contrast to the submission with which his team-mates played the series.

It was in New Zealand in March 1995 that Muralitharan displayed his qualities as a match-winner on any surface. In Sri Lanka’s first triumph on foreign soil, Muralitharan confused the crease-bound New Zealanders on a grassy pitch in Dunedin. The Sri Lankan manager Duleep Mendis’ claim that Muralitharan can turn the ball on concrete was confirmed. On the eve of his tour of Pakistan later that year, doubts were cast on his ability to trouble subcontinental batsmen. By taking 19 wickets in the series and delivering a historic 2-1 victory, the off-spinner silenced the doubters. The Pakistanis, who had negotiated Warne’s leg-breaks in the previous home series, were never at ease against him.

Prior to the eventful boxing day test of 1995, Muralitharan had captured 80 wickets in 22 tests at an unflattering average of 32.74. Even at that point in his career he was the leading wicket taker for Sri Lanka having gone past Rumesh Ratnayake’s aggregate of 73 wickets.

Muttiah Muralitharan is a Sri Lankan Tamil of Indian origin. His paternal grandfather Periyasamy Sinasamy came from South India to work in the tea plantations of central Sri Lanka in 1920. He later returned to India with his daughters and settled in Tiruchirapalli. However his sons, including Muralitharan’s father remained in Sri Lanka.

Muralitharan was born in the village of Nattarampotha in Kundasale (near Kandy), as the eldest of the four sons to Sinnasamy Muttiah and Lakshmi. Muralitharan’s father Sinnasamy Muttiah, runs a successful biscuit-making business.

When he was nine years old Muralitharan was sent to St.Anthony’s College, Kandy, a private school run by Benedictine monks. He began his cricketing career as a medium pace bowler, but on the advice of his school coach, Sunil Fernando, he took up off spin when he was fourteen years old. He soon impressed and went on to play for four years in the school First XI. In those days he played as an all rounder and batted in the middle order. In his final two seasons at St Anthony’s college he took over one hundred wickets and in 1990/1 was named as the ‘Bata Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’.

After leaving school, he joined Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club and was selected for the Sri Lanka A tour of England in 1991. He played in five games but failed to capture a single wicket. On his return to Sri Lanka he impressed against Allan Border’s Australian team in a practice game and then went on to make his test debut at R. Premadasa Stadium in the Second Test Match of the series.[20]

When his grandfather died at the age of 104, in July 2004, Muralitharan returned home from a tour of India to attend his funeral. Periyasamy Sinasamy’s first wish to see Muralitharan claiming the world record for the most Test wickets was realised (passing the record set by Courtney Walsh), but not his desire to live to see his grandson married. Muralitharan’s grandmother had passed away one month earlier at the age of 97. Muralitharan’s manager, Kushil Gunasekera stated that “Murali’s family is closely knit and united. They respect traditional values. The late grandfather enjoyed a great relationship with Murali.”[21]

Muralitharan, married Madhimalar Ramamurthy, an Indian national, on March 21, 2005. Madhimalar is the daughter of late Dr S. Ramamurthy of Malar Hospitals, and his wife Dr Nithya Ramamurthy. Their first child, Naren, was born in January 2006.

Muralitharan’s career has been beset with controversy; his bowling action called into question on a number of occasions by umpires and sections of the cricket community. After biomechanical studies in a lab, Muralitharan’s action was cleared by the International Cricket Council, first in 1996 and again in 1999. The legality of his doosra was first called into question in 2004. This delivery was found to exceed the ICC elbow extension limit of five degrees, assigned for spinners at that time. Based on of official studies into bowling actions, the International Cricket Council revised the elbow flexion limits applying to all bowlers in 2005. Muralitharan’s doosra falls within the revised limits.

Muralitharan was left out of the one-day touring squad to West Indies in early 2008, leading to speculation that he may be focusing on test cricket in the future while Sri Lanka builds a younger squad for one day internationals.

World records and achievements:

Muttiah Muralitharan holds a number of world records, and several firsts:

  • The most Test wickets (723 wickets as of 22 December 2007).
  • The highest number of international wickets in Tests and ODIs combined (1187 wickets as of 19 March 2008).
  • The most 5-wicket hauls in an innings at Test level (63).
  • The most 10-wicket hauls in a match at Test level (20). He is the only player to take 10 wickets/match against every Test playing nation.
  • Fastest to 350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 650 and 700 Test wickets, in terms of matches played.
  • Only player to take 10 wickets in a Test in four consecutive matches. Muralitharan has achieved this feat twice.
  • Only player to take 50 or more wickets against every Test playing nation.
  • Muralitharan and Jim Laker (England), are the only bowlers to have taken 9 wickets in a Test innings twice.
  • 7 wickets in an innings against the most countries (5).
  • Most Test wickets taken bowled (157), stumped (41) and caught & bowled (31).
  • Bowled by Muralitharan (b Muralitharan) is the most common dismissal in Test cricket (excluding run out).
  • Most successful bowler/fielder (non-wicket keeper) combination – c Mahela Jayawardene b Muttiah Muralitharan (65).
  • Most Man of the Series awards in Test cricket (11).
  • One of only six bowlers who have dismissed all the eleven batsmen in a Test match. Jim Laker, Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, Geoff Dymock, Abdul Qadir and Waqar Younis are the others.
  • Most test wickets in a single ground. Muralitharan is the only bowler to capture 100-plus Test wickets at two venues, the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo and the Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy.
  • The only bowler to take 75 or more wickets in a calendar year on three occasions, achieving it in 2000, 2001 and 2006.

    See Also:

  • Wisden Leading Cricketer in the World
  • Doosra
  • List of international cricketers called for throwing
  • List of cricketers called for throwing in major cricket matches in Australia
  • Throwing (cricket)
  • List of World XI ODI cricketers
  • List of Asian XI ODI cricketers
  • World Cricket Tsunami Appeal
  • Muralitharan.com
  • CricInfo Player Profile: Muttiah Muralitharan
  • Muttiah Muralitharan International Fan Club
  • Alston Koch’s Murali Song Video
  • Murali Tracker
  • Muralitharan.cricket-records.com
  • Murali’s throwing controversy was resolved at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • TimeLine: Muttiah Muralitharan
  • Muralitharan.org
  • Murali BigStarCricket
  • Photobucket

    *Acknowledgements to Cricinfo.com, Wikipedia.com, Owners of video and pictures

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