Thursday, July 22, 2010

Murali – the man who will never be caught

Muttiah Muralitharan today became the first man to reach 800 test match wickets and it seems likely that he will be the last man to do so too.

The magnificent feat – which Muralitharan achieved with his final ball in test cricket – is a record that will be almost impossible to match. He averaged just shy of 6 wickets per test match, of which he competed in 134.

Given the way the game is going, with a renewed emphasis on Twenty20 cricket betting, it would be a remarkable effort for someone to achieve anything like 800 test match wickets.

Perhaps, a more realistic wickets per game average might be 4, but that would involve someone playing 200 test matches! Quite simply, Murali is head and shoulders above the rest and probably always will be.

The list of leading test wicket takers tells its own story. Shane Warne sits in second place, but even his final figure is 92 short of the Sri Lankan spinner. Then, no players competing today make up the top ten, with Curtly Ambrose in 10th position, just the 395 behind Muralitharan.

The overwhelming point is that Murali will go down as one of the best bowlers that ever played the game. He has terrorised batsmen for 18 years and has always had a smile on his face.

Some online sports betting pundits point out that he achieved quite a few wickets against the likes of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, but this is irrelevant. Had you replaced these weaker teams with Australia, England or India for the same amount of tests, we would still be talking about the great man reaching 800 wickets.

Sri Lanka and the entire sport of cricket will miss him, but we can always look back on the tremendous career he has had. So many matches, so many overs and so, so, so many wickets.

What’s that sound? Why I think it is every single international batsman letting out a big sigh of relief. For the legend that is Muttiah Muralitharan has graced a cricket field for the final time, his final action being the wicket of Pragyan Ojha – his 800th test victim. What a story.

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