Muttia Muralitheran has decided to end his test career, after 18 long years of dedicated service to his motherland. The questions that are being asked are WHY? Not when. This goes to prove how worthy a player he has been over the years. He is a breath of fresh air, both on and off the field; he leaves a void that will be very hard to fill. His devotion, dedication and discipline as a true son of his mother country will be spoken of to infinity.
He started his career in 1992, against Australia at the R.Premadasa stadium and bids goodbye to test cricket at his favorite venue the Galle stadium. Murali has been termed as a rare double jointed wrist spinner, who bowls marathon spells, of off spin with an open chested action and has dealt deadly blows to the opposition with his big-spinning off breaks and two versions of the top spinner, one which goes straight on and the other labeled as the Doosra which spins in the opposite direction.
His career was never a bed of roses. He was a victim of umpires who no balled him with ulterior motives. He survived thanks to the rapid progress of technology and sports science that proved far beyond doubt that he was legitimate.
Muralitheran is one of the greats of all time. He has 792 test scalps, 515 one day victims, 653 first class wickets and 13 in the new found version the T20. 66 five wicket hauls combined with 22 ten wicket match hauls in test cricket, are proven records that will be carved in gold. Ten five wicket hauls in the shorter version of the game, stamps a class that will be difficult to emulate.
He is state of the art; he was a member of 1996, World cup winning team. In the 2007 World cup he had 26 victims all mesmerized by his wily variations. He added strength to his team both on the field, in the dressing room, and his sense of humor in the team bus, and the airplane will be a missing link in the future.
He single handedly won matches for his country and wrote his name in gold when he surpassed Shane Warne’s record of 708 wickets, fittingly at his home ground in Kandy against the Englishmen in December 2007, and in 2009 broke Wasim Akrams one day record of 502 wickets. The great Pakistan bowler Wasim Akram told the world media that he was proud that his record was broken by a top class bowler who richly deserved this accolade.
He leaves a legacy to all young hopefuls, a match haul of 16 wickets at the Cornhill Test at Lords, against the Englishmen and his eight wickets haul at Trent Bridge in 2006, are a few memories of the many we remember.
Thank you Murali, for those memories, you leave the field with an untarnished name and a name that will be spoken of in many a corner unto infinity.