Bowling July 23, 2010

Muralitharan in Tests: a great career in perspective

A statistical analysis of Muttiah Muralitharan's outstanding Test career
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Muttiah Muralitharan: one of a kind
Muttiah Muralitharan: one of a kind © AFP

This article is dedicated to Muralitharan, arguably the greatest but certainly one of the greatest of all Test bowlers. I will not be doing any comparisons with other bowlers, that will be done in a later article. I will probably select all the other top bowlers to do a comparison. In this article, as a mark of appreciation and admiration for this wonderful bowler and person, I will do comparisons only within his own career. I would appreciate if readers remember this view and no negative comments are made on one of the greatest ever. Let us leave that task to Mr Bedi and umpires whose sole claim to fame will be to act as nothing more than mere historical footnotes in his legendary career. I hope the reader will pardon this moment of strong feeling on my part. But it comes in disgust at the horrendous treatment to a great bowler, who took it in the most gentlemanly way and came through a stronger man. My own personal feelings apart, I hope to highlight Murali's achievements through numbers.

Muralitharan's career is analysed from many points of view. Some of these tables might be available elsewhere but a few are quite new and are being done for the first time. The Wikipedia entry on Muralitharan incidentally is full of very useful and nice-to-know facts. The summary file containing all these tables is available at the end for viewing/downloading. I have stayed away from tables on country performances since that is often shown on television screens and I have to keep this article to reasonable size. Anyhow Murali is the only bowler to have captured 50+ wickets against all Test-playing countries and three of these are 100+ wickets. Also this article covers only Murali's Test performances.

1. Career summary

Tests played:     133
Wickets captured: 800
Wickets/Test:     6.02
Runs conceded:    18180
Overs bowled:     7340.0
Bowling average:  22.73
Strike rate:      55.0
Runs/over:        2.48
10 wkts in match: 22 (4 in consecutive tests, that too twice, and against all 9 
countries). 5 wkts in Inns: 67 Maidens bowled: 1792 Maidens %: 24.4 Best bowling: 40.0-19-51-9 (the first 9 wickets !!!). There is another
9-wkt haul. Fielder combination: 77 (Murali/Jayawardene - highest for non wicket-keeper).

This has been given just to provide a starting point. And what a starting point !!! What does one say.

- Let us not forget the 508 ODI wickets, again the leading ODI bowler of all time. He and Tendulkar lead both forms of cricket in terms of wickets and runs respectively.
- 800 wkts for Sri Lanka is followed by Vaas with 355 and Jayasuriya/Malinga with 98.
- 92 wickets ahead of the next bowler, Warne, and 181 wickets ahead of the third placed bowler, Kumble.
- A wickets/Test figure comparable to the best pre-war bowlers who bowled on uncovered wickets.
- A spinner with a bowling average that is normally expected of a fast bowler.
- A spinner with a fast bowler's strike rate.
- A tally of 10 wickets per match which is more than double that of the next placed bowler.
- A 5 wickets per innings count nearly double of the next.
- A quarter of overs bowled have been score-less.

Muralitharan is the nearest a bowler has come to Bradman, the batsman. It is safe to conclude that Bradman's batting average and Murali's tally of Test wickets are the two landmarks which are never likely to be broken. In terms of the overall impact Muralitharan has had on Sri Lankan cricket, I place him no less than Bradman as a cricketer.

2. Dismissals analysis

Batsmen early dismissals: 145 - 18.1% of Career wkts

Batsmen 50+ average : 60 - 7.5% of Career wkts Batsmen 40+ average : 152 - 19.0% of Career wkts Batsmen 30+ average : 157 - 19.6% of Career wkts Batsmen 20+ average : 184 - 23.0% of Career wkts Batsmen 20- average : 247 - 30.9% of Career wkts

Top order batsmen : 280 - 35.0% of Career wkts Middle order batsmen : 260 - 32.5% of Career wkts Late order batsmen : 260 - 32.5% of Career wkts

Unassisted dismissals : 352 - 44.0% of Career wkts Assisted dismissals : 448 - 56.0% of Career wkts.


This is an analysis of the individual dismissals.

The first entry refers to the number of dismissals of batsmen well before they are set. This is a variable analysis in that I have selected only dismissals of batsmen at scores 25 or more runs below their batting average. Tendulkar at scores of below 31, Ponting at scores below 30, Lara at scores below 27, Langer at scores below 21, McCullum at scores below 10 and so on.

Next is an analysis of all dismissals from the point of view of dismissed batsman's batting average. Over a quarter of Muralitharan's dismissals have been of genuine batsmen with 40+ averages. Just over 30% of his dismissals have been of less talented batsmen, understandable in view of the inability of these batsmen to read Murali.

The third grouping refers to the batting position rather than batting average. This is especially relevant against the minnows many of whose top order batsmen would have batting averages of around 20-30.

The last grouping is a split by type of dismissal. Bowled, Lbw and Return catch fall into the first entry and the other dismissals, the next entry. For 44% of the dismissals, Murali did not depend on others, barring the umpires for Lbws. It was appropriate that the last and 800th wicket was a Muralitharan-Jayawardene combination.

3. Innspells analysis

Career :       133 800 6.02 18180 44040 22.73        2.48

Home : 73 493 6.75 9646 25062 19.57 116.1% 2.31 107.3% Away : 60 307 5.12 8534 18978 27.80 81.8% 2.70 107.3%

First inns : 133 458 3.44 10968 26527 23.95 94.9% 2.48 99.8% Second inns : 129 342 2.65 7212 17513 21.09 107.8% 2.47 100.2%

Top teams : 108 624 5.78 15523 36606 24.88 91.4% 2.54 97.3% Minnows : 25 176 7.04 2657 7434 15.10 150.5% 2.14 115.5%

Career 1 half: 67 356 5.31 8804 21955 24.73 91.9% 2.41 102.9% Career 2 half: 66 444 6.73 9376 22085 21.12 107.6% 2.55 97.2%

Team wins : 54 438 8.11 7088 18726 16.18 140.4% 2.27 109.1% Team draws : 30 112 3.73 3500 9099 31.25 72.7% 2.31 107.3% Team losses : 49 250 5.10 7592 16215 30.37 74.8% 2.81 88.2%

Innspells: 227 Productive innspells: 218 (96.0%)


This analysis has as the base, the complete innspell.

As with most bowlers, Murali's home performance is about 40% better than his away performance. However let us not forget that Murali's away performances fall short only by the high standards he himself has set. He has captured 5.1 wickets per Test, away, and has averaged 27.12, both higher than any other contemporary bowler.

Murali's second innings performances are about 16% better than his first innings. However his bowling accuracy has been almost the same in both innings.

Now we come to an important split. Against the minnows, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, Murali has averaged 7+ wickets per Test (higher than the highest ever), averaged 15 (150% of his career average) and captured nearly 25% of his total tally of wickets. His performances against the minnows is over 60% better than the performance against the top teams.

Murali had two halves of his career as different as chalk and cheese. In almost every measure the second half was around 15-25% better than his first half. The only measure where he has performed better in the first half is in his accuracy.

Murali's contributions in Sri Lanka's wins are out of the world, nearly twice as good as the ones in drawn and losing matches. His wickets per winning Test was an amazing 8+ at an average of 16.

A single fact is sufficient to put Muralitharan's contribution in Sri Lankan wins in perspective. In the 38 Tests Sri Lanka played before Muralitharan's debut, they won 2 Tests. Subsequently in 133 Tests Muralitharan played in, Sri Lanka won 54 Tests. There has never been a more widely varying statistic. 5.3% before compared to 40.6% afterwards. Of course Ranatunga, Vaas, Aravinda De Silva, Jayawardene, Sangakkara et al have played their part. However the leading person in this revival is Muralitharan.

I have used my definition of consistent bowling to do a simple calculation. Any innspell in which Murali bowled more than 10 overs is considered as a considered innspell. Out of these I have considered any spell in which he has gone at least one wicket as relevant ones. His effectivity index was an astounding 96%. In only 9 spells, out of 227, has he gone wicketless.

4. Best & Worst periods

Best year :             90 (2006)

Worst year : 14 (1996)

Best 10-match streak : 89 (1802-1839)

Worst 10-match streak: 29 (1265-1319)

These figures are self-explanatory. 2006 was the golden year for Murali and a decade back, during 1996, he had the worst year, no doubt caused by the Australian accusations. Two ways of looking at what happened in 1996 and afterwards. He might have captured well over 800 wickets. Or, more likely, he steeled within because of the blatantly unfair accusations and performed much better.

5. Share of team wickets

Overall:       800  Team - 2065  Share - 38.7%

Home : 493 Career % - 61.6 Team - 1240 Share - 39.8% Away : 307 Career % - 38.4 Team - 825 Share - 37.2%

First inns : 458 Career % - 57.2 Team - 1239 Share - 37.0% Second inns : 342 Career % - 42.8 Team - 826 Share - 41.4%

Top teams : 624 Career % - 78.0 Team - 1598 Share - 39.0% Minnows : 176 Career % - 22.0 Team - 467 Share - 37.7%

Career 1 half: 356 Career % - 44.5 Team - 967 Share - 36.8% Career 2 half: 444 Career % - 55.5 Team - 1098 Share - 40.4%

Team Wins : 438 Team - 1070 Share - 40.9% Team draws : 112 Team - 354 Share - 31.6% Team losses : 250 Team - 641 Share - 39.0%

Muralitharan's overall share of team wickets is 38.7. This figure is exceeded slightly at home and below away. In the second innings his share moves up considerably to 41.5%. Against the minnows the others have also reaped the rewards. His career jump during the second half of his career is reflected in the share of team wickets also. Finally he has captured over 41% of the team wickets in won matches for Sri Lanka. A peculiar feature has emerged here. Muralitharan's share in drawn matches is way below his share in won or lost matches.

To view/down-load the complete table, please click/right-click here.

6. Into the crystal ball

Finally a note on whether Murali's tally of wickets would ever be surpassed. It was only Murali's innate goodness and hospitable nature which prompted him to say that Harbhajan is the only bowler capable of overhauling him. The truth is that there is probably less than 1% chance that Murali's record would be broken. I think Warne is right in saying that his record will stand forever. The relevant numbers, based on career performances and extrapolations on continuing their performances forever, are given below.

Harbhajan (12y/84t/355w) would take another 15 years and 105 Tests to go past Murali. He would be 45 by that time and would probably be enjoying a settled family life, not bowling doosras and teesras. 600 seems to be Harbhajan's limit.

Steyn (6y/41t/211w) would take another 16 years and 114 Tests to overtake Murali. Steyn, despite (or because of) his awesome strike rate, would have hung up his boots well before that time. For Steyn, 500 seems to be the pinnacle.

A new bowler making his debut next month would have to play 160 Tests over 20 years, in view of the ODIs, T20s and IPL-type jamborees, and maintain 5 wickets per Test. That is the 1% I have talked about earlier.

Other bowlers like Kallis and Vettori would probably require another 20 years and 200 Tests to reach 800. By that time, a son Vettori might very well be playing for New Zealand.

If there are any other analyses which could be done on Muralitharan's career, I invite readers to mail their suggestions. Let me also mention here that I have done this program as a general purpose one and could easily do that for all bowlers. That is what I would do in my follow-up analysis comparing the key measures of the top bowlers.

My only regret is that I wish Murali had chosen to play more Tests and cut down on ODIs and IPL. However the lure of IPL was probably too much of an attraction.

7. Muralitharan as a batsman

Muralitharan as a batsman was a very effective, entertaining and unorthodox no.11. His overall batting figures (1261 at 11.68) might not be very impressive. However he has played many a good potentially match-winning and match-saving innings, both in Tests and ODIS, as chronicled below. This is not necessarily a complete list.

Tests

- 26 against New Zealand in 1998. - 22 against Pakistan in 2000. - 43 against Australia in 2004. - 36 against West Indies in 2005. - 33 against England in 2006.

ODIs (both innings during 2009)

- 33 in 16 vs Bangladesh, who scored 152 and Sri Lanka were 114 for 8. Murali took them to 153 for 8. - 32 in 15 vs Pakistan.

A final salute to the wonderful bowler and human being that Muralitharan is. There will never be a bowler like him. And the people of Sinigama, where he has helped build 1000 houses for the tsunami victims, will say that there has never been a human being like him.

Anantha Narayanan has written for ESPNcricinfo and CastrolCricket and worked with a number of companies on their cricket performance ratings-related systems

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • wb on August 26, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    The off spinners Murali and Lance Gibbs, the legspinners Shane warne and Anil Kumble and the leftarm spinner Bishen Bedi are all masters in their style of spin bowling and feels really happy to find the top three highest wicket takers in test being spinners. However the best spinner that i have seen is B.S. Chandrashekhar who played 58 tests for India and took 242 wickets. His right arm was withered by polio and he used to bowl leg spin with that hand and also bat against the west indian pace attack and fielded with his left hand. He was one of the cricketers who eliminated the gap between ability and physical disability as far as cricket is concerned. So looking at Chandra, i am not surprised that each of warne, murali and anil who are perfectly abled were able to play more than 100 tests and take more than 600 wickets. Chandra u are the best and a source of inspiration

  • Abhi on August 10, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    Ananth, I realise this is a bit off the main topic. But since there is no new blog- what the heck!

    Alex, Looking further Dravids recent run in the last few years is eerily similar to Tendulkars foll. Run 2003- avg. 17, 04-91,05-44, 06-24 I spike in a horrendous 4 yr period- with a spike of one yr in between. However, watching Tendulkar in that period it was evident that his batting was in severe distress. Dravid doesn’t seem to be quite that bad- but he is struggling. May we hope for a Tendulkar like revival? I don’t know. The main point is that in that stretch by the end ’06 Tendulkar was 33/34 yrs old. Dravid is 37/38. This may prove to be the crucial differentiator.

  • Abhi on August 10, 2010, 2:19 GMT

    Alex That is pure data mining. I was looking at the Longer "trend".. last few yrs for Dravid- yearly averages read : 2007- 36,08-31,09-83,10-33.....09 was a great year...but overall it doesn't look too rosy. The SL tour, if just an aberration, may have been ignored. Dravid hasn't been seriously injured,had surgeries. He was captain for a bit tho...Thing is when younger you can easily expect a reversal since you would hope that the basic reflexes etc remain intact...however at age 38 it is tricky. However I hope Dravid gets some consistency back coz as Ramesh Kumar says we need a solid Dravid for SA. Not that his record in SA is too great either -but he is among the best bets.

    Ramesh Kumar- very ,very good observation. Hope you could pass that on to Tendulkar!! I think that is one of the few times he allows his ego to get the better of him.

    BTW- I was looking at yearly averages when looking at Dravids,SRTs etc...and SRT has avg. 50+ in 12 yrs, 40 + in 4 yrs....must be another record!

  • Ramesh Kumar on August 9, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    I think Rahul Dravid needs to relax a bit more. He was very fluent in the first innings. I think he is trying too much. We need in-form Dravid from SA tour onwards into 2011 when we are having many away tours. I also wish Sachin starts playing spinners in front of wicket as his sweep shot has more risks though he gets many runs doing that.

  • Alex on August 8, 2010, 22:12 GMT

    Abhi - Dravid has never played well in SL anyway. This year, entering this series, his numbers read 2 tests, 139 runs, ave=69.5, 1 century. In year 2009, those read 6 tests, 647 runs, ave=83, 2 100's, 5 50's. His 177 vs SL was a masterpiece. Where is the decline?

    Dravid and VVS have been robbed of their fair share in limelight and recognition. So, the fans better refrain from painting them in undue negative light. (Even the comments on a Murali article found a way to to do that.)

    In the 36-40 year phase, Lloyd scored nearly 2900 in 32 tests at ave=60. I believe Dravid, SRT, and VVS have the ability to match it, and should be phased out accordingly. It would have been good if SL has phased Murali out likewise. [[ Comment edited slightly. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on August 8, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Ananth Im not so sure that Dravid's "sporadic excursions into the Indian dressing room" are the problem. It is the same with Lax and it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all. This is similar to Alex searching around for a reason for Ponting's decline. A bad patch before around age 35 or so is understandable for various reasons- simply a down period, captaincy woes, injuries etc etc. But after age 35 /36, the equation changes.

  • Abhi on August 7, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    Alex VVS was gorgeous today. Like Symmo said about watching Tendulkar and VVS "One is a Rolex the other a Piatek Phillepe"...But today VVS just purred...Tendulkar was more construction worker like. Alas,India has probably the best batting lineup and the worst bowling lineup. If only we had a couple of world class bowlers- India would then really be No.1 And Dravid definitely seems to be on the wane (similar to Ponting). [[ Abhi It was indeed a miracle, aided by Sangakkara's inept captaincy which paved the way for an excellent win. That this bowling attack could capture 20 Sri Lankan wickets is indeed a miracle. And Raina adds an attacking consistency which was not visible with Yuvraj. As far as Dravid is concerned, he looks out of sorts, with rhese sporadic excursions into the Indian dressing room. In fact there does not seem to be a single dominant team in the world now. The English attack is possibly the best, but in English conditions. Sri Lanka would go through a phase of inconsistency as also would India from around 2011-12. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on August 7, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    Ananth - BTW, a thrilling fifth day of the final test of Murali's final series was a great on-field tribute to Murali by Ind & SL. I had hoped 230 needed on the 5th day would elicit an SRT performance to rival what 226 needed on the 5th once elicited from Lara. The gem came from the blade of VVS instead. India should award him a Padmashri at least now. What a magnificent batsman! [[ Alex I am a great fan of Sri Lankan cricket. However I feel Sangakkara has not exactly set anything on fire in this series. Last night he could have got Ishant Sharma on 0 if he had 4 fielders around the bat in the penultimate over. In previous matches Sehwag could have been caught twice in the short leg position. Today he had no slip for Randiv almost throughout the first session, forgetting that Sehwag was caught at slip. Many times today it looked as if India was chasing 350+ and Sangakkara was defending the scoring rate. Not that Dhoni showed any imagination. The off side field of 3 boundary catchers to Mendis was one of the most bizarre sights I have ever seen on the cricket field. Ishant Sharma was intent on bowling at Mendis' body, possibly hoping to hurt him, rather than taking his wicket. 90% short balls ??? Laxman was wonderful. He stayed on to finish the job on hand. The 3 hour vigil of Tendulkar was also invaluable. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on August 6, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Ananth,

    belated reading from my side. Great one on Murali. Murali has taken those wickets and won matches for SL not due to any questionable action, but due to his bowling strengths-big breaks, bounce, accuracy, doosra & other variations. His strike rate across so many years is astounding.

    I am curious on one issue-How come we had so many record breaking bowlers-Mcgrath, Kumble, Warne & Murali taking so many wickets during a period presumably dominated by batsmen? I suppose aggressive instincts of batsmen(ODI influence) is one reason and no. of tests another. Since bowlers' wear & tear is more, it is a pleasant surprise to have seen record wicket hauls. Is it a normal evolution of bowling?(I am trying to gently move the topic back to Murali)

    Ramesh Kumar [[ Ramesh Within the next few days I am coming out with the article on the 12 top bowlers. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on August 6, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    Ananth - Lara recd the used tampon treatment the WI board dishes out to its aging greats. I think Lloyd was one of the few exceptions. Viv begged for opportunity to play till WC '92 and was shown the door. Likewise for Greenidge, Haynes, and Marshall.

    Lara probably lacked the qualities needed to be a good WI skipper. WI captaincy is a serious 24/7 job since players come from vastly different islands. Lloyd was spot on he said Worrell taught him that winning was the glue to keep the WI team together. I do not think Lara was available for the team cause 24/7. It is good to go when you still have something to give. But a couple more years of Lara and 2-3 more years of a relaxed Ponting are always that much better.

    For all his saintliness, SRT is shrewd enough to know what is good for him and stick to it. Good on him! I hope this purple patch extends to 3-4 more years.

  • wb on August 26, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    The off spinners Murali and Lance Gibbs, the legspinners Shane warne and Anil Kumble and the leftarm spinner Bishen Bedi are all masters in their style of spin bowling and feels really happy to find the top three highest wicket takers in test being spinners. However the best spinner that i have seen is B.S. Chandrashekhar who played 58 tests for India and took 242 wickets. His right arm was withered by polio and he used to bowl leg spin with that hand and also bat against the west indian pace attack and fielded with his left hand. He was one of the cricketers who eliminated the gap between ability and physical disability as far as cricket is concerned. So looking at Chandra, i am not surprised that each of warne, murali and anil who are perfectly abled were able to play more than 100 tests and take more than 600 wickets. Chandra u are the best and a source of inspiration

  • Abhi on August 10, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    Ananth, I realise this is a bit off the main topic. But since there is no new blog- what the heck!

    Alex, Looking further Dravids recent run in the last few years is eerily similar to Tendulkars foll. Run 2003- avg. 17, 04-91,05-44, 06-24 I spike in a horrendous 4 yr period- with a spike of one yr in between. However, watching Tendulkar in that period it was evident that his batting was in severe distress. Dravid doesn’t seem to be quite that bad- but he is struggling. May we hope for a Tendulkar like revival? I don’t know. The main point is that in that stretch by the end ’06 Tendulkar was 33/34 yrs old. Dravid is 37/38. This may prove to be the crucial differentiator.

  • Abhi on August 10, 2010, 2:19 GMT

    Alex That is pure data mining. I was looking at the Longer "trend".. last few yrs for Dravid- yearly averages read : 2007- 36,08-31,09-83,10-33.....09 was a great year...but overall it doesn't look too rosy. The SL tour, if just an aberration, may have been ignored. Dravid hasn't been seriously injured,had surgeries. He was captain for a bit tho...Thing is when younger you can easily expect a reversal since you would hope that the basic reflexes etc remain intact...however at age 38 it is tricky. However I hope Dravid gets some consistency back coz as Ramesh Kumar says we need a solid Dravid for SA. Not that his record in SA is too great either -but he is among the best bets.

    Ramesh Kumar- very ,very good observation. Hope you could pass that on to Tendulkar!! I think that is one of the few times he allows his ego to get the better of him.

    BTW- I was looking at yearly averages when looking at Dravids,SRTs etc...and SRT has avg. 50+ in 12 yrs, 40 + in 4 yrs....must be another record!

  • Ramesh Kumar on August 9, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    I think Rahul Dravid needs to relax a bit more. He was very fluent in the first innings. I think he is trying too much. We need in-form Dravid from SA tour onwards into 2011 when we are having many away tours. I also wish Sachin starts playing spinners in front of wicket as his sweep shot has more risks though he gets many runs doing that.

  • Alex on August 8, 2010, 22:12 GMT

    Abhi - Dravid has never played well in SL anyway. This year, entering this series, his numbers read 2 tests, 139 runs, ave=69.5, 1 century. In year 2009, those read 6 tests, 647 runs, ave=83, 2 100's, 5 50's. His 177 vs SL was a masterpiece. Where is the decline?

    Dravid and VVS have been robbed of their fair share in limelight and recognition. So, the fans better refrain from painting them in undue negative light. (Even the comments on a Murali article found a way to to do that.)

    In the 36-40 year phase, Lloyd scored nearly 2900 in 32 tests at ave=60. I believe Dravid, SRT, and VVS have the ability to match it, and should be phased out accordingly. It would have been good if SL has phased Murali out likewise. [[ Comment edited slightly. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on August 8, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Ananth Im not so sure that Dravid's "sporadic excursions into the Indian dressing room" are the problem. It is the same with Lax and it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all. This is similar to Alex searching around for a reason for Ponting's decline. A bad patch before around age 35 or so is understandable for various reasons- simply a down period, captaincy woes, injuries etc etc. But after age 35 /36, the equation changes.

  • Abhi on August 7, 2010, 14:12 GMT

    Alex VVS was gorgeous today. Like Symmo said about watching Tendulkar and VVS "One is a Rolex the other a Piatek Phillepe"...But today VVS just purred...Tendulkar was more construction worker like. Alas,India has probably the best batting lineup and the worst bowling lineup. If only we had a couple of world class bowlers- India would then really be No.1 And Dravid definitely seems to be on the wane (similar to Ponting). [[ Abhi It was indeed a miracle, aided by Sangakkara's inept captaincy which paved the way for an excellent win. That this bowling attack could capture 20 Sri Lankan wickets is indeed a miracle. And Raina adds an attacking consistency which was not visible with Yuvraj. As far as Dravid is concerned, he looks out of sorts, with rhese sporadic excursions into the Indian dressing room. In fact there does not seem to be a single dominant team in the world now. The English attack is possibly the best, but in English conditions. Sri Lanka would go through a phase of inconsistency as also would India from around 2011-12. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on August 7, 2010, 9:54 GMT

    Ananth - BTW, a thrilling fifth day of the final test of Murali's final series was a great on-field tribute to Murali by Ind & SL. I had hoped 230 needed on the 5th day would elicit an SRT performance to rival what 226 needed on the 5th once elicited from Lara. The gem came from the blade of VVS instead. India should award him a Padmashri at least now. What a magnificent batsman! [[ Alex I am a great fan of Sri Lankan cricket. However I feel Sangakkara has not exactly set anything on fire in this series. Last night he could have got Ishant Sharma on 0 if he had 4 fielders around the bat in the penultimate over. In previous matches Sehwag could have been caught twice in the short leg position. Today he had no slip for Randiv almost throughout the first session, forgetting that Sehwag was caught at slip. Many times today it looked as if India was chasing 350+ and Sangakkara was defending the scoring rate. Not that Dhoni showed any imagination. The off side field of 3 boundary catchers to Mendis was one of the most bizarre sights I have ever seen on the cricket field. Ishant Sharma was intent on bowling at Mendis' body, possibly hoping to hurt him, rather than taking his wicket. 90% short balls ??? Laxman was wonderful. He stayed on to finish the job on hand. The 3 hour vigil of Tendulkar was also invaluable. Ananth: ]]

  • Ramesh Kumar on August 6, 2010, 9:53 GMT

    Ananth,

    belated reading from my side. Great one on Murali. Murali has taken those wickets and won matches for SL not due to any questionable action, but due to his bowling strengths-big breaks, bounce, accuracy, doosra & other variations. His strike rate across so many years is astounding.

    I am curious on one issue-How come we had so many record breaking bowlers-Mcgrath, Kumble, Warne & Murali taking so many wickets during a period presumably dominated by batsmen? I suppose aggressive instincts of batsmen(ODI influence) is one reason and no. of tests another. Since bowlers' wear & tear is more, it is a pleasant surprise to have seen record wicket hauls. Is it a normal evolution of bowling?(I am trying to gently move the topic back to Murali)

    Ramesh Kumar [[ Ramesh Within the next few days I am coming out with the article on the 12 top bowlers. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on August 6, 2010, 4:42 GMT

    Ananth - Lara recd the used tampon treatment the WI board dishes out to its aging greats. I think Lloyd was one of the few exceptions. Viv begged for opportunity to play till WC '92 and was shown the door. Likewise for Greenidge, Haynes, and Marshall.

    Lara probably lacked the qualities needed to be a good WI skipper. WI captaincy is a serious 24/7 job since players come from vastly different islands. Lloyd was spot on he said Worrell taught him that winning was the glue to keep the WI team together. I do not think Lara was available for the team cause 24/7. It is good to go when you still have something to give. But a couple more years of Lara and 2-3 more years of a relaxed Ponting are always that much better.

    For all his saintliness, SRT is shrewd enough to know what is good for him and stick to it. Good on him! I hope this purple patch extends to 3-4 more years.

  • Alex on August 5, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Abhi - obviously Ponting is not the batsman he was 3 years back. I pointed out that he is still turning out decent performances quite regularly although 100's have become a rarity now. He might get more effective if a couple of true stars emerge for Australia.

    Also, I would not harp on SRT's injury phase and belittle other greats. He himself simply took in stride and moved on; that is a good example for his fans. While what is he doing at age 37 is amazing, it pays to remember what the following guys did. At age 38, Imran (who also lost 3-4 years of his peak) was the International Circketer of the Year; he inspired his team to WC win 2 years later. At age 38, Steve Waugh hit 876 runs in 12 tests averaging 80. Year 2005 of Lara, four years older than SRT, rivals year 2009 of SRT. [[ Alex Somehow I get the feeling that the Tendulkar supporters not only want him at the top but the others to be down and put down. Even though my favourite is Lara I can appreciate Tendulkar whole-heartedly. Recall the following words in my recent mail. "Perfection is Tendulkar's overall attitude, demeanour, technical excellence, temperament and the unfailing courtesy towards all.". I only said that Lara's captaincy efforts of a poor team had a major impact on his retirement from Test cricket sooner than warranted. Ponting is captaining a declining Australian team and this might have an impact on his playing. Notwithstanding their performances as captain or not. Tendulkar had the stature, common sense and astute cricketing sense to realize that the Indian captaincy was a minefield. He wants to maintain his undisputed status as the greatest batsmen across formats and nothing will come in the way. He is also the only Indian player ever to be able to pick and choose his playing assignments. And let me say that is absolutely correct, needed and deserving of this great amongst greats. And let me say that Abhi is one of the most balanced of Tendulkar supporters !!! Ananth: ]]

  • Boll on August 4, 2010, 23:06 GMT

    Looks as if I`ve turned up a bit late on this one, but thought I`d add my 2 cents anyway.

    First of all, what a player. It`s hard to think of other greats of the game about whom no-one has a bad word to say. Gracious, gentlemanly, humble, great team-man. This is what we hear about Murali time and again.

    Point taken about the uncultured behaviour of some Aussie fans - still remember sitting on the old hill at the SCG for an ODI, when a big group next to us shouted `No-ball` every time he bowled. `They can`t keep this up for 10 overs can they...?` they did, and unfortunately Murali went for close to 100 runs. Disappointing we didn`t see more/anywhere near his best in Aus - 4 tests, 7 wickets at over 100 hardly does him justice.

    Astonishing statistics, an absolute superstar.

  • Abhi on August 3, 2010, 14:33 GMT

    As captain Lara avg.58 to 50 when he was not captain in 47 matches. Ponting 53.5 vs 56. Tendulkar 51 vs 57. So, if at all , only Tendulkar was affected. So, you are “overintellectualising” ( as usual ?! : )) It is a natural decline for Ponting- with nothing to do with injuries etc. I have always maintained that if not for Tendulkar’s injuries ( at the worst possible time in terms of the other batsmen tucking ravenously into unprecedented run buffets) , Tendulkar would have been miles ahead – with the rest not even in the same frame. We are now getting a glimpse of what we may have missed. But ,alas at age 37 and diminished reflexes he will never be able to reproduce what he would have sans breakdowns.

  • Alex on July 29, 2010, 22:59 GMT

    Ram - Ponting's # since July 7, 2009 are as follows: 15 tests, 26 inn, 1 NO, 2 100's, 6 50's, 1066 runs, ave=42.64. In these 26 innings, fully 12 times he has scored more than 35. In this same period, he played 36 ODI's and has scored 1549 at an ave of 45.6 with 3 100's and 12 50's (he was sublime in Eng and Ind). He is not in poor form at all - just not converting the starts in tests into big scores (same happened to Viv and the opposite to Lara).

    This is just the reverse of what happened over the 2005-06 period in which SRT posted 680 runs in 18 test (22 innings) with 1 100 & 4 50's at an ave of 36 while Ponting hit 2877 in 25 tests with 13 100's at an ave of 78. While SRT had to some injuries to deal with that period, Ponting has plenty of captaincy issues to deal with now. I don't think Ponting has deteriorated as a batsman (but he probably needs some help in the dressing room). [[ These are valid points. Tendulkar does not make an obvious display of this particular facet of his character. He is single-minded in his desire to leave a huge impression in batting. He has not allowed the distractions of captaincy to creep in. Both Ponting and Lara could not (or did not want to) say NO. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 29, 2010, 20:22 GMT

    Ananth - your Feb/Mar '09 analysis had Lara at 50.5, SRT at 49.5, Ponting at 48; Bradman was at 70. Now, the numbers are possibly 51 for SRT and 48.6 for Ponting.

    I wouldn't rule out Ponting ... since Dec '06, SRT has failed in only 1 series (in SL '08) and did well in all others but the real kick came when he overtook Lara in Oct '08 and his batting process reached a different level (I wonder how much role MSD's captaincy plays in it). Something similar might happen to Ponting ... there numbers (& age) at the 12,000 mark are eerily similar. [[ Alex I get the feeling you are not Alex Tiedno who is a usual contributor. In which case you could change your name slightly. Ananth: ]]

  • Ram on July 28, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    Ananth, An another request from an avid fan. I see now that Ricky's average dropped considerably to 55. In the mean time SRT average is at high 55...Kallis, Sanga, Mahela have incresed their averages...So can you go back to your Batsmen comparison you did some time ago ? to see whi is better..Last article mentioned Ponting was greater than SRT..Now I am not sure...May be even sanga is close to ponting and SRT now...Thanks Ram [[ Ram I have no problems in doing what you want. However let me correct some mis-statements in your response. At no stage have I put Ponting ahead of Tendulkar. Bradman, yes, who would not. I have put Lara ahead of Tendulkar as a test batsman and still maintain that. However Tendulkar is so far ahead of Lara as an ODI batsman that in combination Lara is behind. As far as Ponting is concerned I might have said that he might overhaul Tendulkar's aggregate or century count. That too an year and a half back. Not now. Ponting has under-performed so badly recently that I do not think he (or any one else) would overhaul Tendulkar's career-end runs/centuries in both tests and Odis. Ananth: ]]

  • Sadev on July 27, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    Murali is the greatest, the world will miss him so much, and the world will miss the 3 greatest spinners of all time, Murali, Warney & Kumble

  • Philip Gnana on July 26, 2010, 23:13 GMT

    I feel humbled at the sincerity of the writer. I personally felt that Murali had suffered emotionally as a result of the Tsunami. His mind was set on humanitarian needs and not on cricket. He had seemed to lose that sparkle. What a gentleman, who never thought of himself but always of the fellow human beings and his team mates. This alone sets him apart from the other great bowlers. Unfortunate that SL were not allowed the privilege of playing England more often. England were his bunnies. A further 100 wickets perhaps. If only he was able to bowl during those years when he was unfairly barred. If only. Murali has opened the doors for bowlers to proove themselve via biometrics and just not the visual eye. This has been a great contribution to cricket in addition his achievements. Philip Gnana, New Malden, Surrey

  • Kartik (the old one) on July 26, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    First off, 6 wkts/Test is extremely rare. No bowler in the last 50 years has come close. Only Lillee and Hadlee barely even exceed 5 wkts/Test. This is a function of both the quality of bowler as well as the weakness of his co-bowlers. McGrath and Warne, or Walsh and Ambrose, could never achieve 5 wkts/Test, let alone 6, due to each other.

    Warne + McGrath taking 1270 wickets greatly exceeds Murali + Vaas, however.

    Now then, if a Barnes-type bowler emerges, then all bets are off. Then again, we haven't had anyone post-Bradman to average even 62, let alone 100. [[ Kartik While agreeing that WpT is a function of bowling quality and the weakness of teammates, I cannot but emphasize that a study of the Strike rates is very revealing. Granted Murali might have achieved between 0.5 and 1.0 WpT because Vaas got only 3.20 WpT. How is it that Murali has also got a 20% better strike rate (55 against 66). Also he has a better strike rate than Warne (55 vs 57.5) and Kumble (55 vs 66.0). This, despite his getting fewer innings to bowl in. Against india in 11 tests in India, in 8 tests Murali got only one innings to bowl in. So all these innings would have had much higher BpW figures, Ananth: ]]

  • Gopal Sharma on July 26, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    Hi Ananth, You've echoed my sentiments. It's disgraceful that even when he's retiring, people are questioning his action. He's a living legend. I've been following a lot of your earlier work and couldn't help get a feeling, this would've been a little easier for you, given the numbers the great man has (I mean it as a tribute to both Murali and your work in bringing out the statistics in the game we all love, not otherwise). What amazes me most is that Murali got these numbers in an era which was dominated by the Batsmen. And to do it for such a length of time!! Is there a way of giving these stats more relevance by using the average batting scores and the number of batsman with high averages?

  • Baz on July 26, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    Any chance you could do a country breakdown, there is always talk that Murali played against Bangladesh a disproportionate amount compared to other great bowlers, is this true? [[ Baz This is available in many places, newspapers and television. I have set up a Stasguru analyais and if you copy and paste the following link in your browser you will get the required info. http://stats.cricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=wickets;search_player=muralitharan;team=8;template=results;type=bowling;view=opposition Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 26, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    Ananth - Truly, comparing Rohit to SRT is akin to comparing a sparrow to an eagle. Abhi has a point in that the wheel always comes a full circle though it may not be that obvious. It took 40 years but a Kallis appeared after Sobers (though many have a hard time putting Kallis on the same pedestal). There is a clear and logical progression in Richards to Lara & SMG to SRT. But Murali is like Paganini in violin history - nothing spectacular in SL bowling history and suddenly there is an outrageous Murali (likewise for Hadlee)!

    For the next Murali, it best to look out for a nation that is either very young or has been a minnow for a very long time. My bet - England ... the British publicity machine will turn any which Eng bowler comes near that level into the greatest ever cricketer by far! [[ Alex You have grossly misjudged me if you thaought I compared Sachin with Rohit. It was one of those "streaight from channel-V" commentator during IPL. I missed Sobers and Kallis. Ananth: ]]

  • Ray on July 26, 2010, 13:01 GMT

    Hi Ananth, As always great job. A small suggestion. Can we try a comparrison of Warne and Murali if they had played the same number of matches against all the oponents, i.e. if Warne played the same number of matches against the minnows as Murali, Murali played the same number of matches against England, etc. However The minnows may be disregarded if you think that Warne didn't play against them enogh to have a proper comparison [[ Ray Very intriguing idea. However makes sense only in a one-on-one comparison. my intention is to the top 10 or so bowlers. Ananth: ]]

  • Vinod on July 26, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    This is what we call a 'dream career'. "WOW" is the least I could say after reading his achievements. Let our uncles cry that 'Murali is a Javeline thrower and all his wickets were runpouts'. LOL. Hope to see more of Murali in One-days.

  • Senthil Kumar K on July 26, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    Harbhajan can still break murali's record if he bowls well !!! But Murali is Murali I have never seen this kind of bowler. [[ No, Senthil. If you say that then you must also say that "if Sangakkara bats well, he could beat Tendulkar's mark". I think both are next to impossible. Ananth: ]]

  • Azar on July 26, 2010, 10:59 GMT

    Welcome Back 2 CSK "Murali"

  • Kartik (the old one) on July 26, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    That is not a good picture of Murali...

    The best one is where he is about to deliver the ball, with his crazy-looking eyes about to pop out.

  • Abhi on July 26, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    Kartik, On that point I wouldn’t bother too much. Someone always comes along. After Richards, Lara came along. When everyone was wondering who after Gavaskar- we had a Tendulkar. The Aussies are finding it difficult to get replacements for Mcgrath,Warne. I remember when ppl were wondering who would fill Mcdermotts and Hughes shoes.The Aussie fast bowling academies will surely throw up another Mcgrath at least- if not a better version. A Warne replacement will be much more difficult. So, someoone always turns up- that is the nature of sport. The ink had barely dried on Sampras’s records than Federer showed up. Sometimes it happens soon- at times it takes longer. But happens it does. [[ Abhi I think Lara after Richards was possible. However anyone to replace Lara ??, possibly never. Similarly Tendulkar after Gavaskar was there. But someone to replace Tendulkar ??, probably never. Someone to replace Muralitharan. Not even in dreams. However what the players can do is to do their best and talked of in the same breath as Lara, Tendulkar or Murali. That itself is an achievement. Not in a loose sense like Rohit Sharma being the next Tendulkar but after they achieve, say, half of what the masters have done. In individual games it is still there. I may not like it, but I think there is some chance that Nadal overhauls whatever Federer leaves behind. Ananth: ]]

  • Alex on July 26, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    Ananth - in your upcoming article doing a detailed analysis of Murali in the context other bowlers, pl see if the following metrics can be computed.

    I.1. Ave & SR for all bowlers (taken either as a single entity or split as (i) rest of the SL bowlers, and (ii) opposing bowlers) in all matches in which Murali played.

    I.2. Ave & SR for the two highest wkt taking bowlers in all matches in which Murali played (these 2 will likely be differ from one match to another).

    II. The above for the matches in which Murali took <= 4 wkts (his "poor" matches).

    III. The above for the matches in which Murali took > 6 wkts (his "good" matches).

    II & III will give us info on how often he was ineffective (or otherwise) when all others were ineffective (or otherwise), etc. Thanks!

  • bency k.thomas on July 25, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    great figures..keep up the good work...

  • Kartik (the old one) on July 25, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    Sri Lanka only won 7 Tests that Murali has not played in. They were a weaker team before 1992, but still.

    I predict that from this point on, Sri Lanka will find it quite hard to take 20 wickets in Tests. A 6 wkts/match bowler is being replaced with a likely 3.5 wkts/match bowler. Sri Lanka will take 2-3 fewer wickets per Test, and thus win a lot fewer matches, certainly overseas.

    If SL haven't won Tests in Ind/Aus/SA yet, they really have no chance of doing so now.

    Sri Lanka will thus now have trouble ever going higher than #4 on the ICC Test rankings scale. No modern team has been so dependent on one player. Hadlee, Lara, Andy Flower, etc. were not quite so crucial as Murali.

  • Karan on July 25, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    A great analysis by you and congratulations to murali on an amazing career. No spin bowler has achieved as much as him. Not even warne, who is close behind. Anantha, 3-4 years ago on your own website, thirdslip.com, you did two analyses on the best test bowlers and test batsmen of all time using the hallmark/thirdslip ratings which were an improved version of the Wisden 100 ratings. I believe that now, especially as some great players such as murali, kumble, warne, mcgrath and hayden have retired since you last did the analysis, now would be a great time to do it again. It would be very interesting to see how things have changed. Of course, the complex program that you developed is not 100 % perfect, but it is far more revealing and accurate than raw statistics. This is a genuine request. Also the databeses on thirdlsip.com have not been updated in over a year. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to read this as I am a fan of your articles. Keep up the great work! [[ Karan Let me address all points. 1. I agree that this is the perfect time, maybe after a month or two, to re-visit the "First amongst equals" bowler analysis. Over the past three years I have also acquired a vast treasure-trove of readers and their incisive comments and have learnt a lot. New measures have come through. 2. I am doing around 8/9 articles a month now and have not been able to feed "thirdslip.com" any special ones. I will re-direct the visitors to the Cricinfo and CastrolCricket sites. 3. Since I really do not need any income from the database, I want to make the database available free for all enthusiasts. I have to solve the problem of on-going updates first. Have not been able to allocate a clear week addressing this problem. Once I find a satisfactory solution I will make the Database available free. Thanks. Ananth: ]]

  • Abhi on July 25, 2010, 3:00 GMT

    Some very good and pertinent comments here by chan, asif etc. etc. All very true. We forget that the top performers in any field are uniquely suited to that particular field- whether sport, art, science etc. if you think picking up any moderately talented athlete and forcing him to practice regularly for years will be able to reproduce a Tendulkar back foot drive off express pace, a Lara late cut off a fizzing spinner, a Federer half volley backhand flick, or a Murali doosra with practically the same action breaking away like a leg break ….forget it. It is simply not going to happen. Whatever it is- a low COG, freaky hand eye coordination, muscle memory and balance, extra bendy wrists- whatever- it is unique and not easily replicated. A lot of us may have tried all these things at school/club level after seeing how easy it looks on TV. And we all know where the ball inevitably ends up. And so we need to celebrate ALL these “freaks” of nature- which is precisely what all of them are. And so it also follows because of their unique abilities that comparisons become a bit useless after a while, especially if there is not much in the stats. You cannot compare one unique entity with another. [[ Abhi Well said. One reason I love new players like Mendis who bring in something quite different. Whether he can sustain that over many matches is a moot point. Obviously players are going to find ways to handle it. Otherwise Mendis would up with 200 wickets in 25 tests. However if he settles down and bring in good days at the office, he should be fine. Muralitharan (and Warne and Kumble) have all been handled very well by Lara, Flower, Tendulkar, Jaya/Sanga et al. However their overall achievements over 18-20 years are to be appreciated and admired. Ananth: ]]

  • prajwol on July 25, 2010, 2:14 GMT

    Great bowler of all time....

  • Alex on July 25, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    Ananth & Anonymous:

    1. I don't include IPL-types in the T20 list. If T20's go the NBA way (with US-China pumping in big money), 40 matches/yr is possible --- the corporates will milk it 5-6 months/yr much like the NBA, etc.

    2. Umar Gul has 46 wkts in 28 T20's while Steyn has 29 in 21. So, a great T20 bowler taking at least 1 wkt per match is conceivable: after all, it will take a really great bowler to overtake Murali! This guy will enter a very select club whose membership, in my mind, is now restricted to Barnes, Hadlee and Murali. None of these 3 was a fast bowler although Hadlee, perhaps the pick of this lot, was fast when needed.

    3. Ananth - right now, Murali is 30% ahead of 2nd place in # international wickets while SRT is 22% ahead of 2nd place in # international runs. Is this the largest gap ever if we restrict attention to 100+ wkts and 3000+ runs? [[ Alex On the laast point, are you referring to a progressive analysis over the years, on the gap in international "xyz"s between first and second. If so it is a difficult to do analysis and probably not worth it. You remember I did a similar analysis some time back on the gap between first and second on various measures. Maybe that can be re-done on a few other important measures. Ananth: ]]

  • Himendra on July 24, 2010, 23:12 GMT

    Indeed , no comparison Murali as a bowler and Sir Don as a batsman as of today. Also it may well be the case for many years to come. Marali’ you are a great legend. Not only as a cricketer but also as a good human being.

    Himendra ( NZ)

  • Ambuj Saxena on July 24, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    Hi Ananth, Will it be possible to do a general analysis of all bowlers with respect to assisted vs unassisted dismissals. I am not sure what to expect, but certainly will tell us a lot more about many great bowlers. Another possibly interesting analysis would be how often a fielder-bowler pair crops up in a wicket. Perhaps one part of analysis excluding the wicketkeepers who have location advantage over other fielders.

  • Asif on July 24, 2010, 20:11 GMT

    Ananth,

    "To talk about Murali's shortcomings today would be small-minded and churlish" you said in response to me. You are of course right; we must appreciate a man's greatness without petty feelings. It is just that I've seen too many humans idolized to the point where one cannot relate to them anymore; they become supermen. And to me, a human getting to 800 wickets is much more celebration worthy than a superman getting there (because a superman would of course get there, whats the big deal in that)! So all I'm saying is let's keep Murali imperfect, though still very very good. That way we'll be able to appreciate the man better.

    Finally, I would also like to ask you to not be so swift in judgment of Bedi or any of the Australian umpires. To the naked eye he does look like he chucks, and it is only through multiple cameras/replays were we able to prove otherwise. Heck the incident led to a change in one of the basic laws of cricket after all (15% bend is now allowable).

    Asif [[ Asif Thanks for coming back with a nice letter. My only comment was that today (or couple of days back) is not the time to discuss the shortcomings, if any. Of course when I do an analysis of the top dozen bowlers or so, i will highlight the wkts against the minnows and similar factors. That may be the time when I myself would accept the negative points. Re Bedi, I think he should keep quiet at this time. He is diminishing his own stature by saying negative things at this juncture. He is a bull-headed person and does not let go. As far as the Australians are concerned, what happened over 10 years cannot be chronicled here. However there was an orchestrated campaign to malign Murali, as late as 2005. They could have treated him well at least after he was cleared. Ananth: ]]

  • suba on July 24, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    MURALI is the greatest among great cricketers, when we consider in&out field acheivements,I don't care about ill-hearted&wrong-minded people comments;By the way THANK YOU MR ANANTH your article is simply"superb et manifique"

  • Manik Ganguli on July 24, 2010, 16:14 GMT

    People like Bedi always ther to find soemthing bad on his action . But we can not ignore the number of matches he won for his country . A true legand . Mr. Warn th eother great also having a average of 44+ against India - and where as in his last game also Murli took 8 against the best side - and ofcourse the best spin playing Team . So East or West - Murli is the best ..

  • MAX on July 24, 2010, 14:46 GMT

    with all due respect to murali is the best spinner of all time in my opinion

  • Yusra on July 24, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    He is a great& great all time.We Miss you Great Murali.

  • Waseem Raja on July 24, 2010, 12:35 GMT

    Yes i think Shane Warne is absolutely right that this record will last forever. He is an extremely terrific bowler of all time and definitely brave one also to with stand that menace of no-balls by Austrailian umpires. I m a great fan of Murali and off course majority of Pakistani cricket fans. He is the architect of many great victories for his country. I dont think cricket world will see a bowler like him again.

  • Anonymous on July 24, 2010, 12:32 GMT

    @ALEX : there is another flaw to this argument of a T20 bowler getting 800 wickets, HE HAS ONLY 4 OVERS!! Then a bowler will have to play 40 T20 INTERNATIONALS per year for say 20 years and take AT LEAST 1 wicket EVERY MATCH. (now this is the easiest combination) presently an international team plays about 10 T20s per year. thus all other cricket has to be reduced to play 40 T20s per year. even MURALI as great as he is had several T20 figures without a wicket in both internationals and IPL. Even the most successful T20 bowler GUL has a low strike rate though very miserly. AND remember i have not said the banned word INJURIES !!!

  • kumareshan on July 24, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Murali is a spinning wizard, a great cricketer, and a great human. We can't compare him with any other bowlers like Warne. I don't say that warne isn't good bowler, but he didn't make anything better than Murali. Murali suffered a lot, specially the taunts and irritations from SOME UNCULTURED AUSTRALIANS, (note the word some) and he replied only with smiles. He never shouted at umpires or his opponents (like our well behaved so and so Australians)

    Now kindly tell me Mr.Balaji, if you achive anything where you get only taunts and irritations? and how can a spinner achive a lot in fast bowler - frienly pitches. (Australian fixed matches with Sri Lanka in spin friendly Sydney Ground after 2002 at the same time every single child would know about the South African Pitches) finally i would say to all of them who talk negatively about Murali, "YOU SPEAK THIS BECAUSE YOU CAN'T TAKE HIM DEFEATING YOUR HERO WORSHIPED BATSMEN".

    Thanks a lot for this work Mr.Narayan

  • Arjuna on July 24, 2010, 11:58 GMT

    Murali is an example, Murali is a model, Murali is an ambassador and Murali is a hope in all time. so there is no need of any explanations.

  • MAQ on July 24, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    MURALI HAS TAKEN 18 YEARS AND PLAYED 133 TESTS TO ACHIVE THE MILESTONE OF TAKING 800 TEST WICKETS. MURALIS RECORD CAN ONLY BE BROKEN IF A NEW PLAYER STARTS HIS CARRIER WITH 6.10 WICKETS PER MATCH AND WENT ON PLAY 134 TESTS, AND THIS IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE.

    HOWEVER MURALI IS ALTIME HIGHEST WICKET TAKER. MANY CONGRATULATIONS TO HIM

  • Alex on July 24, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    Ram: Warne is pretty decent actually; his foundation is active in supporting underpriviledged kids. In "Warne's Century" book, he specifically cited Murali's work for Tsunami victims.

    Karthik & Ananth: I think the net international tally of Murali may get overtaken within the next 20 years if T20 gets big. Akram serves as a case in point. In 18 yrs, he played 360 ODI's & took 504 wkts in it. If T20 goes the NBA way with 40 (if not 80+) games/year, such a bowler will play 720 T20's in his career and will have a shot at 800+ wkts in it. He could conceivably get the remaining wkts in tests (however few) + re-incarnated ODI's (what those might look is too bizarre to contemplate). Most likely this bowler will be a medium-pacer or a spinner.

    Similarly, SRT's record of most international runs & most # international centuries could get beat within 20 years. [[ Alex The only problem I have with your argument is that you seem to be including IPL type games. I hope you have not thought on thiose lines. I cannot see a player playing 40-50 T20-Internationals per year. Ananth: ]]

  • Robski on July 24, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Excellent article as usual, but one query - according to Statsguru and my own admittedly fading eyesight, Sri Lankan bowlers took 1968 wickets in Murali's 132 Tests (presumably the difference lies in run-outs), giving him a share of more than 40%.

  • pradi on July 24, 2010, 9:43 GMT

    He was a greatest bowler in the world no doubt ab that.warn also good bowler but he never attacked in india.all the players couldn't play in india because of decision & massive crowd but in england both warn & murali was succeed but murali is best bowler in england.

  • Suresh on July 24, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    There are no words in any languages discovered in the world to describe MURALI.

  • Weerasena on July 24, 2010, 9:26 GMT

    By giving a real honour to the greatest bowler Murali,the cricket ball should be named as "MURALI"

  • Ram on July 24, 2010, 8:38 GMT

    Murali vs Warne comparison is useless. Murali as a cricketer and as a human being stands tall compared to warne. This man is a genuinely warm hearted person with certain human values which warne lacks. let us not rate him only on his cricketing achievements. Look at him as a human being and the greatness shines. [[ Ram Some of the readers might have missed the TV segment on Sinigama. Muralia and his manager have apearheaded the effort to build 1024 houses for tsunami victims. However let me say that Warne has also helped Murali in this effort as also Victorian giovernment.

    Ananth: ]]

  • taniya on July 24, 2010, 8:19 GMT

    is a greater hero not for the sri lankan, all of the world. after aravinda, next muraly..... who will fill this??????? his eyes will not forget longer. he will be the hero in world cricket as a bowler. no one can come... sir, BADMON.... you can talk SIR, MURALI...... in ODI he can 530-550. (because will reture after next year) but he can, more than 2-3 years as a international level cricketer. last match took 8 wickets more than his avarage. hwo can do it????????? it is difficult to get 1 wicket.... but murali on lst match 8 wickets... that is why he is a hore for the world cricket. as a sri lankan i can proude from murali. not for me 20milliones of people in this country. but, one thing if murali will be played another 30-35 matches.... what will happened?????? 1000 wickets.... yes.. that is the one you can achieved.. but it was mised... but in ODI you can achieved 600 wickets without loosing your ability. jaya wewa. murali. thank you SIR MURALI... THANK YOU

  • Nalin on July 24, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    Wonderful bowler and he is a national resource to sri lanka. Thanking u mureeeeeeeeeeeeeeee........

  • kais mirza on July 24, 2010, 7:58 GMT

    Grand Salute from my side. To "The Master of Spin".

  • Roy Ranaweera on July 24, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    A Nice classified Article of Muralitharan. Well Said Mr.Narayanan. I don't think that this record will be broken in this century.

    As it explains in the Article he is not 2nd for Don Bradman. I suggest if Bradman got "sir" why don't we suggest Murali to get one "sir'.

    I am Proud to be a Sri Lankan because of "Murali"

    Ranaweera

  • Prakash Das on July 24, 2010, 7:46 GMT

    Nice article Mr. Narayanan.

    Murali undoubtedly is the greatest bowler-cricketer of his generation besides being a great human being.

    Wish him all the very best for the remaining part of his career and there after.

  • jossey on July 24, 2010, 7:10 GMT

    Murali is a champion in and out of the field; a legend; a great human being; as you said, arguably the greatest and certainly one of the greatest.you have written a great piece of work and it shows not only Murali is agreat cricketer but also you must be very good hearted person. I CAN UNDERSTAND YOUR FEELINGS unfortunately there are good and bad people in this world.so don't worry take it easy.WELL DONE SIR MURALITHARAN AND ALSO WELL DONE DEAR ANANTH; keep writting.BRAVO!!!!!

  • chan on July 24, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    Some more things for u AN. in the lat test mUrali got Sachin for the 9th time they said. also i hear murali has taken more # 4 batters than anyone else (sachin, lara, KP, et al) how about an analysis mate? also if u do an analysis of MM and SW the wickets per test, per inning, per balls, and also on a home 'n away basis, Murali will come just ahead. (of course u may be able to include hadlee ambrose et al but am not sure of data availability). the simple fact is Murali is a freak of nature. just like Michael Phelps has some 20% lung capacity than any other swimmer, Murali had unnatural joints. (Have u heard of the race hose RED RUM. after its death they found its heart was 40% bigger than any other horse recorded in medicine.) So dont hate him or belittle what Murali has achieved, 'cos just like Bradman's 99.94, 800 is a number unachievable ever!!! Even his tally of International wickets will stand the test of time. Be glad u were around to see the magician of a millennium. cheers

  • Mangala on July 24, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    Many argue that Murali performed poorly in Australa.True, in Australia he had to compete against the crooked umpires, unsporting press, a non-diplomatic prime-minister, and biased spectators, in addition to the opponent team. Daryll Hair even no-balled him in Melbourne when he bowled leg spin from around the wicket. This shows that all was pre planned. Only Tony Grieg raised this issue but was never highlighted by partisan critics.Handling the brunt of this pressure, I think he has done enough. In addition, SL was never given a test in spin friendly Sydney. Murali's figures against Aussies 59 wkts @ 36.06 is much better than Warne's against India, (43 wkts @ 47.18) if one wants a fair comparison. Ananath was spot on in dismissing attempts to demerit a truly great performer. However, if one wants an independent view on the whole issue, who is great Murali or Warne, I think Mathews analysis above is just perfect and unbiased.

  • Faisal Khan on July 24, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    Murali is Murali I have never seen this kind of bowler.

  • Sarosh on July 24, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    Some features that struck me: 1)No One is going to get 800 Test wickets&508 ODI wickets. People conveniently forget ODIs -as if they didn't exist. If not for the ODIs and bodily wear Murali would certainly bave got well above 1000 Test wickets. 2)Although his stats may show Murali to be more effective in the 2000s,this seems to be at odds with actual experience against the Best batsmen.Lara too had problems with Murali in the 1990s. In the 2000s the Better batsmen seemed to have had Muralis measure-& lefties always handled him well. 3)I think you are being unfair to Murali by hinting that the lure of IPL may have tempted him. He has clearly stated that his knees simply couldn't stand 50-60 overs of pounding anymore.He is infact off to Australia to get them checked up and operated on if needed. All in all a Class of his own. The greatest offspinner of all time. As rgds Warne it is a split- The greatest legspinner.Similar to the SRT/Lara debates- THe greatest modern rigtie and leftie [[ Sarosh Thanks for putting me down in support of Murali. I am quite uncomfortable with top players (Kumble, Gilchrist, hayden, Flintoff and now Murali) retiring and moving on to IPL. Ananth: ]]

  • chan on July 24, 2010, 6:23 GMT

    @RB: if Murali bowled 50% of the overs its obvious the team bowled the balance:) so ur request is stupid 'cos Murali cant bowl from both ends!! @BALAJI: is it Murali's fault Australia didnt give more tests to Sri Lanka and never a test at SCG? Suggest u compare the wickets/test against India, Australia, SA of Murali and Warne, not to mention England, NZ and Pakistan. Haters loosers mate !!! @JAY: yes also Warne is the only one who was banned for drugs and had a 3some with hookers and sent dirty SMS to women and lost sponsorship for smoking in hiding!! lol mate, so much for inspiring millions :) @Orville : as an independent observer i think there was a problem after his shoulder injury and operations. contrary to many idiotic views of his chucking, murali got the fizz & dip from shoulder, not elbow (and spin from wrist). while not medically disclosed it was the view the shoulder rotator cuff had infact been damaged and the surgery only patched it. he was a different bowler afterwards.

  • Samapth Perera on July 24, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    Thanks Ananth on behalf of all SriLankans. You have been keen & a closer follower of Murali & always helped Murali with this type technical analysis against the odds who always criticized Murali. Well Done. Every one questions Muralis figures about minnows ZIM & Bangladesh. Could you please look at a away & show how Sachin & Sir Don have scored against minnows & prove those stats would not have an impact on judging the Greatness of any player.

  • Ifraim ahmed on July 24, 2010, 6:16 GMT

    Well,a lot has been said.Now allow Paul Harris bend his bowling arm like murali and see what magic he produces. [[ Well, Mr.Ifraim Why does Paul Harris not bend his arm NOW, upto 15 degrees allowed, and see what he comes out with. Probably 1 wicket per test. This applies to any other ineffectual spinner, If you seriously mean what you say, maybe you do not belong to this intellectually inferior blog. Ananth: ]]

  • Kunal Talgeri on July 24, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    There will never be another Anantha Narayanan. :-) Nice tribute to Murali! Just one correction: I do think Murali is very orthodox for a No. 11 batsman. :-P Otherwise, the numbers reveal so much about a wondrous cricketer. I also feel the difference between Warne and Murali is simple: one was far more effective than the other when they played India. That should come up in your next analysis of Murali's contemporaries. He was stupendous against India; I remember how Murali embarrassed the Indian batsmen on Diwali 2000 in a ODI final with an eight-wicket haul. [[ Kunal I do not deserve your compliment at all. Still thanks. If I can give 1% of the pleasure Murali has given to World cricket in general and Sri Lankan cricket/people in particlular, I will deem it a great honour. Your statement on Indians, is applicable overall, in India and Sri Lanka combined. Ananth: ]]

  • magicunc, US on July 24, 2010, 4:53 GMT

    Please respect the wishes of author while commenting. An article is written for a specific purpose, and the author puts in his heart and effort into it. When the author has specifically asked for no negative comments, why are people not understanding. Today is the day for celebration. An acknowledgement of Murali as the world's best. In test cricket, no one gives a wicket for free. Each one has to be earned. I love Warne a lot, but I love Murali more. His modest lifestyle personifies the traits that I seek in people. Murali is the Tendulkar of bowling. He is the "no-drama" Murali. Honest, down to earth, smiling, and true champion. Let us step back and celebrate his success. [[ Thank you for echoing my sentiments exactly. Comparisons can be held for later. Today is the day to bask in the warmth of a great player and human being. Ananth: ]]

  • Kartik (the old one) on July 24, 2010, 4:28 GMT

    I think the main reason that Murali's tally of 800 will not be passed is the reducing number of Tests being played.

    When Gavaskar retired, he also held all the Test Batting aggregate records that existed. But those records started falling, and now he owns almost none of them.

    Kevin Pietersen scored 5000 runs in 5 years, and Greame Smith and Sehwag have scored 7000 runs in 8 years (by contrast, it took Tendulkar 11 years to reach the same). So the speed of accumulation is increasing, not decreasing.

    Lastly, I remember in 1987 that 400 wickets was considered an impossible peak to scale until Richard Hadlee did it.

    So while Murali's Test Wicket tally may not be broken, his international wicket tally of 1315 or something will fall sooner than we think. [[ Kartik I agree that of the two (Test wkts & International wickets) it is the combined one which has any chance of being overhauled. However with ODIs under a cloud that itself is a remote chance, possibly 2%. Harbhajan with 600 international wickets is less than 50%. Also T20 will produce its own band of cricketers. There are likely to be cricketers playing Test & ODIs or ODIs & T20, almost never Tests & T20s and possibly 0% of all three. Ananth: ]]

  • sb on July 24, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    What ever the comments made by others, He is the true hero of bowling of cricket in all time! Has anyone faced discriminations sp in Australia faced by murali like even after he was cleared by technical experts? How strong he is to perform even better after these incidents? Cricket is not only a physical game but a 50% psychological. so would have done far better if he was given more matches & if he would have not faced such problems in Australia. "When a hero born everybody opposed to him want to think he is not a hero"

  • Gamini Nanayakkara on July 24, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    Dear Gamini,

    I want to send congratulations to all Sri Lankan cricket fans on Muralitharan's 800 test wickets- but you're the only Sri Lankan I know, so I send all my congratulations to you!!! Take care mate, see you soon,

    Mike.

  • Manjula1119 on July 24, 2010, 3:58 GMT

    Best explanation to the critics who rank Warne ahead of Murali.

  • Madhuka on July 24, 2010, 3:29 GMT

    One of the best articles i ve seen so far about Murali..... good job...Anantha Narayanan

  • jaffna on July 24, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    If murali got more matches to play in England,New Zealand then he would have reached 1000; rater than played bangalathesh,zimbabe both these team are very good agains spin specially Andy flower played murali beter than Lara.So pls dont ever compare murali and warne,and dont say that murali played Zimbabe and bangaladesh more because both team are very good against spin even beter than England or Newzealand(recall in 1998 murali distroy England and got 16 wickets,just imagin if he played more matches in england he woud have easily reached 900 wickets for sure).World spend money and time to invend new technologies,emerson and bedi pls your eyes and minds are not even close to this centuries technology.Hats off for murali,Your records will stand like bradmans batting average for sure.

  • Ashwath on July 24, 2010, 2:29 GMT

    Murali is a great cricketer and also a great human being. He always seems to be extremely humble and forthcoming, rather than say a harbhajan or even a warne. Of course my opinions are all based on third hand information or pictures seen on TV. There is no doubt statistically that he is the greatest bowler of all time. His only drawback if there was any is the controversy surrounding his action. Although that may never die down i am quite happy that it has been proved that everybody bet their arm at the point of delivery.

  • suresh subasinghe on July 24, 2010, 2:02 GMT

    He is no doubt the greatest bowler in cricket...

  • Alex on July 24, 2010, 0:33 GMT

    Ananth - nice tribute. The '96 WC win is probably almost as much pivotal in SL cricket history as the '83 WC win is in India's. Sustained efforts of Aravinda & Ranatunga's captaincy prepared for their legitimacy. Jayasuriya exploded and the next gen built well on the triumph. Murali cuts the most important figure in this transformation - if we rank the bowlers as sigma-outliers in #wkts/match & #over/match, he might outdistance all others (pl do this analysis: you will need to compute mean & variance across all bowlers).

    While Balaji's comment has some merit, Murali is best viewed in this wider perspective. A few have been more effective _across all playing conditions_ but, all things considered, I think, only Hadlee and Barnes merit a comparison with Murali as a bowler. (Also, Bishop's 3.74 is misleading - he hunted in a very competitive pack and had his career tragically marred & cut short by surgeries).

  • Orville D'Silva on July 23, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    Ananth, there's been a lot in the press suggesting a drop in Murali's "fizz" over the last few seasons. Do the numbers support this view? Or were we just expecting too much from Murali? [[ I could do a 3-split or even 4-split analysis of Murali's career. Ananth: ]]

  • Vish on July 23, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    Wow.. an amazing tribute to murali. wish murali reads this once!! kudos to ur stats..

  • Matthew on July 23, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    People argue over who was better: Murali or Warne, partially because Aussies tend to rate all and only the players who perform well against them, and Muarli has been poor against AUS - 59 @ 36.06 (this is why Murali is not Bradman's match). But Warne never performed against Australia either!

    What we can do is compare them against the top teams they did both play against. I have picked IND and RSA.

    Both struggled against IND. Murali played 22 tests, and took 105 wickets @ 32.61, with 2 ten wicket hauls. Warne played 14 tests, taking 43 wickets @ 47.18, with a solitary 5 wicket haul.

    Against RSA, Murali took 104 wickets @ 22.22, in 14 tests, with 4 ten wicket hauls. Warne took 130 wickets in 24 tests at 24.16, with 2 ten wicket hauls.

    Against weaker teams, Warne did better against PAK, Murali against ENG.

    Murali played more in the subcontinent, but Warne was in a stronger team. I'd say that these factors more or less cancel out.

    Conclusion: Murali was slightly better.

  • John Greensborne on July 23, 2010, 20:15 GMT

    Oh dear, Balaji just got owned! Also, great analysis as always Ananth

  • Mark on July 23, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    Murali has a better away record than Warne.

    If you remove Murali's performance against Bang/Zim, then look at how he would have performed abroad compared to warne if he bowled exactly the same number of deliveries against the same opposition, it becomes clear that Murali's been much more successful abroad.

    What becomes clear, from such an analysis, is that Warne's average is massively boosted by enormous number of matches he played against England. What's more, Warne has a higher number of tail-enders. This means that, if not for McGrath and others taking out top-order players, Warne would have had to bowl a larger percentage of his deliveries against good batsmen rather than tailenders and his average would have been even worse.

  • siva on July 23, 2010, 19:30 GMT

    As I see mostly positive comments about Murali, wanted to put some negative ones - but could not find really one - about him. Congrats to Murali.

  • Asif on July 23, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    Ananth,

    In response to Balaji, you write "If you cannot make worthwhile comments, please stay away." I find that both harsh and demeaning. Or are you not prepared to listen to any criticism of either Murali or your analysis of him?

    This article is as much your opinion as it is about facts, you have admitted as much, "I hope the reader will pardon this moment of strong feeling on my part." It is hypocritical of you to then go ahead and pan someone for his opinions.

    Murali is a great bowler. But like ALL bowlers, he has his shortcomings; let's not get carried away and claim he is perfect. Again I refer your response to Balaji; dare I say that if those bowlers were doing nearly 50% of their teams' bowling, those WPTs would've been much higher. As it is, by comparing these WPTs you insult the other great bowlers.

    Once you are ready to discuss Murali's shortcomings we can indulge in a much more thorough discussion. Only by a complete analysis can we fully appreciate greatness. [[ Asif First let me say that the article is "only facts" other than a sentence or two which are opinions. Second the shortcomings can be discussed later, not a day after he hung up his boots. To talk about Murali's shortcomings today would be small-minded and churlish. I will do that at a later stage. Third the comment has to be made correctly and after verifying facts. Pl see Hemrajan's comment or Hussefyan's or Alex's. It was the reference to South Africa which made me conclude that it was an off-the-cuff comment. Finally Murali never did 50% of his team bowling. His total share of bowling was less than 40%. Ananth: ]]

  • Jay on July 23, 2010, 19:16 GMT

    In my mind, he was in same league as Kumble - continual trier. A great - yes.

    But there was only ONE magician - Warne.

    Just as Walsh had more wickets than Wasim, we know the latter was the one who inspired.

    We can analyse the statistics as much we want, but most of us know what our heart tells us.

    Warne > Murali Wasim > Walsh Richards > Tendulkar

  • HusseyFan on July 23, 2010, 18:10 GMT

    While Murali is no doubt a great bowler, the only blemish that wouldnt make him amongst the greatest in my opinion is his poor record against Australia. I have read that Imran Khan told Javed Miandad on the 1987-88 West Indies tour that if he was a great batsman, he needed to perform against the best which was WI at that time. The centuries that Javed hit in that series later made him one of the greatest batsman of all times.

  • balaji on July 23, 2010, 17:05 GMT

    Hi all, Yes statistically speaking a great achievement however pls note that he failed miserably in india,austrailia and south africa and hence acheivements need to be noted in this aspect as well a case in point is the recent series in india,where he failed badly against the likes of sehwag and tendulkar ,yes he is a king in srilankan conditions but in other conditions just ordinary.However for sheer statistical reasons congrats.

    BALAJI [[ This is the sort of selective distorted view which demeans a great player. First of all most of the bowlers, especially the top 3 spinners have done poorly in quite a number of countries outside their backyard. Next to your mail. Murali has taken 35 wickets in 6 tests in South Africa. By whose definition is nearly 6 wickets per test a failure. He has captured 40 wickets in 11 tests in India. Kindly remember that out of these 11, 6 have been innings wins for India meaning there were only 6 innings to bowl. Two were draws with only one innings played. Two others were losses. So Murali bowled in only 14 innings in 11 tests. His team's batting weaknesses certainly hindered him a lot. Yes, in Australia, he failed. 7 wickets in 4 tests. That evereyone knows the background story. It was a deliberate attempt to put him off track and I must confess they succeeded. Again out of these 4, 2 were innings wins and one 10-wkt win. In the three countries you have mentioned, his haul of wickets were 82 in 21 tests. This works to 3.90 WpT, higher than the career WpT of Shoaib Akhtar (3.87), Prasanna (3,86), Bishop (3.74), Lindwall (3.74) and Willis, Botham, Statham, Srinath, Abdul Qadir and many other illustrious bowlers. If you cannot make worthwhile comments, please stay away. Ananth: ]]

  • Sanket on July 23, 2010, 16:09 GMT

    Murali was the greatest Test bowler of his generation. I just hope that his father had chosen to come back to India around 1980 (he was considering the possibility due to the riots in Sri Lanka). [[ Sanket A piece of iintriguing information wonderful to hear. However I love Sri Lankan cricket and cricketers and I think Murali has done wonders there to act as a binding force for the war-torn nation. It was probably appropriate that Mr.Muthaiah chose to stay back there. Also would we have supported Murali the way Ranatunga and the Sri Lankan board did. Ananth: ]]

  • Rahul on July 23, 2010, 16:03 GMT

    I am an as big a fan of murali as you are. Good article buddy. Bradman's average, sachin's centuries and murali's wickets will never be overtaken. And if they are, well i hope i am alive to see that happen!

  • Nisar Ahmed Khan on July 23, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    A true legend he is and I seriously doubt that anyone ever could break his record...

  • Helasiri Nawalage on July 23, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Narayana for your time to formulate this article as a tribute to really deserve crickter. I think in past 30years the only silver line about srilanka was its cricket and Murali is the only symbol I can think of that entire nation stood behind. I know for for sure in another 1000 years time this story may be treat as a myth.

  • RB on July 23, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    Share of team wickets should have share of team overs along with it. There was a time when he was bowling nearly 50% of team overs (or it seemed that way). [[ RB Good idea since it indicates the share of work load also. Although I doubt whether there would be a great difference considering Murali's great strike rate. Ananth: ]]

  • Kevin Perera on July 23, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN was, and is the greatest bowler ever in cricket. He has the strength of overcoming challenges, accomplishing targets within a simple frame of mind. He is the transformer of the way of his bowling nature, which the rest of the world follows with deep respect. A few tried to nip him in the bud seeing his extraordinary success from his early days itself, but he has provided them with a very good reply simply by his paradise of records, making the entire world and even them respect him. I think Murali has achieved everything he had to achieve and marked the Sri Lankan glory in the world over and over again. So, thank you Murali for all the things you have given for us, there are many many moments to enjoy in your cricketing life, which are immortal. Your many records, most precisely that of 800 wickets are unbreakable forever.

    THERE IS NO ONE COMPARABLE TO MURALI TO COME AGAIN, WITH THE FACT THAT HE HAS GIVEN ALL HE COULD TO HIS COUNTRY AND THE GAME OF CRICKE

  • Jagath on July 23, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    These stats very clearly indicate greatness of Murali.

  • tarun on July 23, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    in simple language we only said that he is the greatest bowler of all time

  • Deepak on July 23, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Kudos to the Spin Doctor ! M.Muralitharan timed his retirement to perfection. And what better way to finish than getting a five wicket haul ( Including Sachin ) and reaching 800 Test wkts. Yes , just like the author says , this is a milestone. One that will never EVER be broken. The Smiling Assassin might have said good bye to whites. But we can still see him in Colors of the National ODI team and the Yellow of CSK :) Hats off to you Murali Sir for being the extraordinarily Humane person you are !!

  • Angelo Joseph on July 23, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Hello

    It's a great briefing ....weldone....g8t work!

    Well ...i do not think that any one could surpass Murali's Outstanding 800Wkts World Record.

    Thats for sure it will remain till many many years!!! unless his son breaks it?

    Thnaks

    AJ -Sri lanka

  • Nafees Ahmed on July 23, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Murali Dharan was/is great bowler and its a sufficient performance in own career my and my families was like this and my friends too, firstly we will like the shane warne after shane warne retirement choose to the Murali Dharan and complete our opportunities we wish him that and prayed for God that he will spend a good time after test retirment and srilanka got the same as bowler

  • Damith on July 23, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Murali is the greatest bowler ever...

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Damith on July 23, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    Murali is the greatest bowler ever...

  • Nafees Ahmed on July 23, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Murali Dharan was/is great bowler and its a sufficient performance in own career my and my families was like this and my friends too, firstly we will like the shane warne after shane warne retirement choose to the Murali Dharan and complete our opportunities we wish him that and prayed for God that he will spend a good time after test retirment and srilanka got the same as bowler

  • Angelo Joseph on July 23, 2010, 13:29 GMT

    Hello

    It's a great briefing ....weldone....g8t work!

    Well ...i do not think that any one could surpass Murali's Outstanding 800Wkts World Record.

    Thats for sure it will remain till many many years!!! unless his son breaks it?

    Thnaks

    AJ -Sri lanka

  • Deepak on July 23, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Kudos to the Spin Doctor ! M.Muralitharan timed his retirement to perfection. And what better way to finish than getting a five wicket haul ( Including Sachin ) and reaching 800 Test wkts. Yes , just like the author says , this is a milestone. One that will never EVER be broken. The Smiling Assassin might have said good bye to whites. But we can still see him in Colors of the National ODI team and the Yellow of CSK :) Hats off to you Murali Sir for being the extraordinarily Humane person you are !!

  • tarun on July 23, 2010, 14:01 GMT

    in simple language we only said that he is the greatest bowler of all time

  • Jagath on July 23, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    These stats very clearly indicate greatness of Murali.

  • Kevin Perera on July 23, 2010, 14:49 GMT

    MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN was, and is the greatest bowler ever in cricket. He has the strength of overcoming challenges, accomplishing targets within a simple frame of mind. He is the transformer of the way of his bowling nature, which the rest of the world follows with deep respect. A few tried to nip him in the bud seeing his extraordinary success from his early days itself, but he has provided them with a very good reply simply by his paradise of records, making the entire world and even them respect him. I think Murali has achieved everything he had to achieve and marked the Sri Lankan glory in the world over and over again. So, thank you Murali for all the things you have given for us, there are many many moments to enjoy in your cricketing life, which are immortal. Your many records, most precisely that of 800 wickets are unbreakable forever.

    THERE IS NO ONE COMPARABLE TO MURALI TO COME AGAIN, WITH THE FACT THAT HE HAS GIVEN ALL HE COULD TO HIS COUNTRY AND THE GAME OF CRICKE

  • RB on July 23, 2010, 14:58 GMT

    Share of team wickets should have share of team overs along with it. There was a time when he was bowling nearly 50% of team overs (or it seemed that way). [[ RB Good idea since it indicates the share of work load also. Although I doubt whether there would be a great difference considering Murali's great strike rate. Ananth: ]]

  • Helasiri Nawalage on July 23, 2010, 15:27 GMT

    Thank you Mr.Narayana for your time to formulate this article as a tribute to really deserve crickter. I think in past 30years the only silver line about srilanka was its cricket and Murali is the only symbol I can think of that entire nation stood behind. I know for for sure in another 1000 years time this story may be treat as a myth.

  • Nisar Ahmed Khan on July 23, 2010, 15:56 GMT

    A true legend he is and I seriously doubt that anyone ever could break his record...