What’s the story?
Former India opener Virender Sehwag has said that during his 14-year playing career, he feared Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan the most, citing that he was difficult to pick up both because of his bowling action as well as the length at which he bowled.
“It was difficult playing him, both due to his bowling action and his length.” the 38-year-old said at the Hindustan Times Palate Fest.
During the course of their careers, Sehwag and Muralitharan met several times and the off-spinner got the better of the opener on three occasions. The duo had some memorable duels, in particular during India’s tour to Sri Lanka in 2008, when against him and Ajanta Mendis, Sehwag carved his way to an unbeaten 201, carrying his bat right through the innings to help his side reach 329.
One of his most dominating performances against Muralitharan came a year later at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, when he took him and the rest of the Sri Lankan attack to the cleaners during his knock of 293, which is the fourth highest score made by an Indian in Test cricket.
Sehwag’s choice of player, however, is not someone who could be easily tackled when on song. At his pomp, Muralitharan troubled most batsmen, with his awkward action and multiple revolutions on the ball and also a deceptive doosra, which he developed later in his career.
His bowling action, however, was in the news for the wrong reasons on numerous occasions during the course of his career, but he battled his way all through that to finish as the leading wicket-taker in Test history, picking up 800 scalps in 132 matches.
Post his international career, Muralitharan continued to ply his trade in various T20 Leagues across the world and was even part of the Chennai Super Kings squad, that won the Indian Premier League and the Champions League T20 competition in 2010.
Here’s a video of that unbeaten 201 from Sehwag:
Every batsman who has played the game will have that one bowler, whom he just could get going against. Rahul Dravid rated Glenn McGrath as the toughest that he faced, fo Sachin Tendulkar, it was the late Hansie Cronje.
While on his day, Sehwag could take any bowler, even a player as clear as he was in his head about his approach to batting had his own share of fears, while facing up to Muralitharan.