A statement I think that will be questioned long after he retires and has been echoed across cricket grounds around the world. Yesterday the Sri Lankan spinner announced that he shall be stepping down from international cricket after the Galle test match, but has made himself available for a final swan song during the OD World cup for which Sri Lanka will be part hosting.
Many within Asia see him as a huge influence on the bowling of spin and finger spin more importantly, regardless of the degree his arm his bent. Some of the statistics are staggering. On 66 occasions, he has taken five wickets in an innings, and has managed 10 wickets in a match 22 times and to place this in perspective, only 11 bowlers have managed more five-wicket innings than this. No one has sent down more than his 43,669 deliveries (40,850 for Anil Kumble and 40,705 for Warne are the only ones in the parish). A total of 73 of his wickets have come with catches by Mahela Jayawardene, the most by a non-wicketkeeper off a single bowler.
Most of the world’s greatest sportsman have always done things a little differently, and with Murali his unique action is what made people love or hate him. As soon as Darrell Hair no-balled him during the test and one day series during 1995 in Australia he was always going to have to wear that ‘chucking’ tag for long as wished to continue to torment batsman. To his credit Murali was prepared to under go all the scrutiny required to prove his action was legal and a lesser person may well have given up. Undertaking test’s at the University of Western Australia and the University of Hong Kong, with them all concluding that his action does seem to show to the naked eye a ‘throwing illusion’. This failed to appease all of the cricketing public with many asking for his records and results to be struck from the boards across the world.
Early in his career many saw him as having the opportunity to take 1000 wickets, but now as his retirement looms and sitting on 792 the opportunity to hang his cap on 800 is so very close, which puts those words of Fred Truman when becoming the first man to take 300 Test wickets, that if anyone else managed it they would be “bloody knackered” all the more reason for a final quote from the king of spin.