Murali remains spin king | Pakistan Today

Murali remains spin king

NEW DELHI – Muttiah Muralitharan, who bowed out of international cricket after Saturday’s World Cup final, left behind a career marked by record-breaking performances and bitter controversy over his action. The off-spinner, who quit Tests last year with 800 wickets in 133 matches, went wicketless in the six-wicket defeat to India, leaving him with with 534 scalps in 350 ODI.
It was a disappointing end to a two-decade career in which he bamboozled batsmen around the world. It will be virtually impossible to surpass Muralitharan’s records as current active players nearest to the marks are India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (393 Test wickets) and Australian paceman Brett Lee (348 one-day wickets).
Muralitharan is to bowling what India’s Sachin Tendulkar is to batting. The Indian also holds two major cricketing records — highest runs in Tests (14,692) and one-day internationals (18,111). But unlike Tendulkar, who was in the India team on Saturday, the Sri Lankan was often in the news as much for his bowling action as his extraordinary skill.
Muralitharan, born with a bent elbow, was called three times for ‘throwing’ by Australian umpires in the mid-1990s and was also once called a ‘chucker’ by former Australian prime minister John Howard. Despite the International Cricket Council amending the law in 2005 to allow a 15-degree flexibility in the bowling arm, the debate refused to die down. Muralitharan did not let the criticism affect his bowling and continued to make life miserable for batsmen with his huge turn and disconcerting bounce.
He was virtually unplayable at home, where pitches are more spinner-friendly. He also had a deceptive ‘doosra’, a delivery which leaves the right-handers instead of coming in to them like a conventional off-break.

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