Muttiah Muralitharan, born on April 17,1972 is a former Sri Lankan cricketer. Considered as one of the best test cricketers the game has ever seen, he was right arm off-break bowler.
Over a span of 19 years on the field, he made an exceptional impact on Sri Lankan cricket through his unique, yet controversial bowling technique that led to his name being etched on several international record books.
Muttiah is the first and only Tamil of Indian origin to represent Sri Lanka in international cricket. As a schoolkid, he practiced medium pace bowling. But he took up off-spin bowling when he was about 14 years old.
His impressive performance earned him a solid spot on his school St.Anthony's College's first XI for four years straight.
The final two years of his school life saw Muralitharan play with the numbers, with over a hundred wickets to his name.
His performance as an all rounder and a middle order batsman and his intense spin bowling skills earned him the title or 'Bata Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ in 1990/1.
Entry to International Cricket
Muralitharan was selected for a Sri Lanka A tour of England in 1991, but he couldn’t capture even a single wicket despite playing 5 games.
Later in 1992, after putting up an impressive performance in a practice match against Allan Border's Australia, he received his test team call up. He went on to make his test debut in August, 1992 in the second test in the home series against Australia.
For a country that was relatively new to test cricket, Muttiah Muralitharan is what drove away the bad fortune for that. Rather, his skills did.
In his 3rd test, he took seven wickets and five in the one after that. And thus, he took a team that had won only two matches out of 38, to a two game victory in the five-match series.
Muttiah Muralitharan Career Stats
Muttiah Muralitharan is known for the amazing stats he’s created in tests and ODIs.
He has a total of 800 test wickets coming from just 230 innings and 534 ODI wickets in 341 innings, with a bowling average of 22.73 and 23.08, respectively.
Even 7-8 years after his retirement, he still holds the record for the most wickets taken in test and ODI cricket.
Muralitharan was always about the wickets, even from the very beginning of his career. In the first 3 years of his career, he had 81 wickets from 23 tests with an average of 34.
However, there was a considerable change in his form after that, with the rate increasing to six wickets per match, and later on, in 2000, an incredible seven wickets per match.
A nine year period starting from January 2000 to December 2008 saw Murali at his prime, with him picking up 539 wickets in just 76 matches at an average of just 19.76 runs per wicket.
Good and Bad Times
Despite being called the greatest ever to play in tests, Muttiah Muralitharan has had his tough times, particularly against Australia. While he averaged less than 24 against every team he’s played, he conceded upto 32.59 runs per wicket against the Australians.
Even without letting the numbers talk for themselves, Muralitharan's play itself is a beautiful feast to the eye for any lover of the sport. There has hardly been any players, except for Shane Warne and Anil Kumble whose numbers have gotten even close to Murali's.
The beauty in his game lasted even in his last moments on the bowling pitch, where he took his 800th test wicket from the very last ball he bowled.