December 6, 2007

Sri Lankan cricket

Excuse me Murali, how do you spell your name?

Muttiah Muralitharan fires down another delivery, Sri Lanka v England, 1st Test, Kandy, December 5, 2007
 © AFP
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Dinesh Weerawansa of the Daily News, the Colombo-based daily, writes about how he cycled all the way to a school ground meet a young Muttiah Muralitharan, to get a clarification on how his name was spelt.

It was a less important inter-school game between Maris Stella College, Negombo and St.Anthony’s College, Katugastota. But I had a person to meet, of course without an appointment. He was a young cricketer who was a member of that St. Anthony’s side. Having joined the ‘Daily News’ as a cub reporter, I was in-charge of school cricket since 1987.

I occupied the entire inner back page of Tuesday’s paper with my school cricket review, which was sub editored by my dear friend, the late Marianne Decker.

There was an Antonian cricketer who had been going great guns but even the sports reporters did not know the exact way he spells his name. The intention of my ride to Katunayake was to meet the emerging schoolboy cricketer and find how he spells his name and pronounces it.

His first name was spelt it different ways in different newspapers - Some called him Muttiya, Muttiyah, Muttiah, Muttiyaa or Mutiaya. When it came to his surname, it was still worse - Muralidharan, Muralidharam, Murralitharan, Muralitharan or even Muralitharam. On that particular evening after the match, I met this young schoolboy to find out the correct spelling.

Ever since, I used that correct spelling in all my school cricket write-ups. It was this young schoolboy who has now become a household name in Test cricket.

Ashok Ganguly is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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