Murali unleashed

Wisden CricInfo staff

April 17, 2003

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1972
The birth of talented, yet controversial, offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan. It looked like his Test career might stall on 80 wickets when Darrell Hair called him for throwing at the MCG in 1995-96, but Muralitharan - of whom it was once said that he could turn it off a motorway - overcame that, and has been absolutely devastating in recent years. He was the youngest (29 years) and the quickest (72 Tests) to 400 Test wickets.

1961
An England fast bowler is born - in Jamaica. Norman Cowans's family moved to England when he was 7, and he was only 21 - and had taken only 43 first-class wickets - when England took a punt on his raw pace for the Ashes tour of 1982-83. He responded with 6 for 77 in the second innings of England's thrilling, three-run victory at Melbourne, but he never reached those heights again, and his Test career was over before he turned 25. His batting was essentially useless, although his sole first-class fifty - for Middlesex against Surrey at Lord's in 1984 - was slogged off only 19 balls.

1968
Roger Twose, who was born today in Devon, was never really taken seriously by the England selectors despite being a key part of Warwickshire's all-conquering early-'90s side, and instead migrated to New Zealand, for whom he made his debut in 1995-96. His Test career was fairly modest - though he did make 52 in New Zealand's Lord's victory of 1999 - but he really excelled in one-day internationals with his resourceful, abrasive batting. He starred in the 1999 World Cup, when he made a matchwinning 80 not out against Australia, and got right up Glenn McGrath's nose by refusing to bow meekly as Kiwis were supposed to.

1978
West Indies offspinner Derick Parry didn't pull up too many trees in his 12-Test career, but this, the fourth Test in Trinidad was his finest hour by a long way. Parry dug West Indies out of a hole with a Test-best 65 in the second innings, then took 5 for 15 - the last four all bowled - as Australia collapsed to 94 all out. It was Parry's only five-for, and it gave West Indies the Frank Worrell Trophy.

1903
Birth of Naoomal Jaoomal, the exotically named right-hander who opened in India's inaugural Test, at Lord's in 1932. He played only three Tests, though, and his Test career ended ignominiously when he edged a ball onto his head and had to retire hurt, against England at Madras in 1933-34. He died in Bombay in 1980.

Other birthdays

1952 Masood Iqbal (Pakistan)
1964 Janak Gamage (Sri Lanka)
1972 Jatin Paranjpe (India)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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