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'He made offspin attacking again'
Part 11: Geoff Boycott on the impact Muttiah Muralitharan has had on slow bowling and on Sri Lankan cricket (00:00)
Producer: Ranjit Shinde
April 17, 2012
'He made offspin attacking again'April 17, 2012
Murali has to go down as one of the great purveyors of the cricket ball. He has had an interesting career. He got lots of wickets with his offspin, his doosra, and the great thing is that he was the first person to really bowl the doosra and make it turn - surprised everybody. I don't think anybody before him really bowled the doosra accurately and with spin.
He spun the ball alarmingly both ways, caused problems for batsmen. He has had this freak arm action and this freak, almost double-jointed, wrist, which has been difficult for people to pick.
I have always felt that he threw the ball - I am not saying that to cause problems, because it was proved that he did eventually… when he went to Western Australia, to the university there, but it was also proved that… the biomechanical men say that a lot of bowlers bend their elbows and straighten it a little bit. So I am afraid that publicity over that is always going to follow his career.
He is a lovely man. He has been great for the game because he has invented this new thing, the doosra, which has helped offspinners come back into the game. It was getting to the point where on these covered pitches, flat-batting pitches, where it didn't turn much like the olden covered pitches, the offspinner was tending to fade out of the game. He was becoming either a defensive bowler, just blocking up an end, rather than an attacking bowler.
But now, through bowling the doosra, offspinners are able to pass the bat, both sides of the bat. They have become more dangerous and attacking. Harbhajan bowls it, and a number of other people around the world. So Murali created that. Which has been good for the game, because you don't want to lose any type of bowling - left-arm spin, legspin, offspin. You want all varieties to be able to play cricket.
He, more than anybody else, has been responsible for the uplift in Sri Lankan cricket. Yes, they have had other good cricketers, batsmen and bowlers, but he more than anybody. Without him being the major wicket-taker… huge amounts of wickets that he has taken in one-day cricket and in Test cricket, he has been their major match-winner. He has been the iconic figure of Sri Lankan cricket. And he, more than anybody, has lifted them up to a status which is at level with other great countries in world cricket. And they have been able to stay there. I think what he has done for Sri Lankan cricket, more than the wickets that he has taken, is that he has lifted them up. So when he has retired and gone, I think other cricketers will be able to keep the country up there as one of the best in the world.
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