July 22, 2010

Cheeky, chatty, charitable

To know Murali was to love him (and occasionally to wish he would be quiet)
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It says much about Murali that you'll never hear a bad word spoken about him. Forget for a moment his prolific on-field record, Murali the man is deeply loved and enormously respected by team-mates and opponents alike. Kumar Sangakkara, his captain and close friend, summed it up most eloquently a few years ago: "The greatest tribute I can pay him is that I have met no finer man. He's great as a cricketer and even better as a human being."

Yet, somehow, Murali is still a little misunderstood. An Indian journalist asked me last week if it was true that Murali was a loner in the dressing room? I laughed out loud.

I guess I understand the question because his shyness can sometimes make him come across as reserved. But the real Murali, the relaxed Murali, relishes a group environment, is hyperactive, talkative, opinionated and fun-loving.

One thing is for sure: the Sri Lanka dressing room will be a far quieter place without him. Just as his bowling has dominated on the field, his effervescent personality fills any room he occupies. He's such a chatterbox, in fact, that his exhausted team-mates once challenged him to be completely silent for the duration of a three-hour coach trip to Kandy. He lasted about three minutes.

Mahela Jayawardene summed it up well in the Guardian last week: "He is the sort of guy you want in the dressing room, but sometimes you think: 'Why is he in the dressing room - he won't stop talking!' When he exhausts us, he goes to see the opposition. He is the only player I have ever known who spends more time in the opponents' dressing room than his own. You never sit next to him on an aeroplane because you won't get any sleep. Lal, the masseur, has that job. But ask him to make a speech and you will be lucky to get 10 words."

He's irrepressibly cheeky, too, one of his favourite pastimes being admonishing his top-order batsmen. While others are afraid to voice their opinions after a team-mate loses his wicket, Murali sometimes can't resist. Once, while playing for Lancashire, a towering Andrew Flintoff stormed into the dressing room, ashen-faced, having failed to end a lean trot. Murali sauntered over casually. "What happened - another shit shot?"

The wonderful thing, though, is that despite his huge success he remains so humble and down to earth. Sport is full of inflated egos. Sometimes arrogance even seems a necessary evil when competing at the highest level, but somehow Murali has managed to stay normal. The only time he can be accused of immodesty is after one of his cameo performances with the bat.

His polite and humble persona has much to do with his father, Muttiah, a man of few words and the polar opposite to Murali's effervescent and emotional mother, Lakshmi. Despite being significantly wealthy, having run a company called Luckyland Biscuits tirelessly since 1956, he carries himself with a Gandhi-like air of simplicity. He's easy to spot at Murali felicitations: the quiet, unassuming gentleman dressed in a simple, traditional white sarong, surrounded by flashy suits.

Murali, a naughty child, rarely spoke to his father during his childhood, but they enjoyed a relationship of great respect. Muttiah, a man with the strictest of working routines, taught his son the virtues of hard work and provided the never-say-die backbone that has epitomised Murali all these years. When the biscuit factory burned down during the terrible island-wide riots in 1977, Muttiah might easily have fled the country to join his family in India. Instead, refusing to turn his back on Sri Lanka, he went to the pawn shop the week after and negotiated a loan to rebuild the uninsured factory from scratch. That unbreakable spirit has always been evident in Murali.

Chandika Hathurasinghe, Murali's team-mate during the early years at Tamil Union and the current Sri Lanka assistant coach, recounted a story. He and Murali had stopped for a snack at a small café close to the Parliament grounds in Colombo. A young boy working in the shop asked for a signed photograph. Murali promised him one and left. The boy would probably not have not expected him to remember, but Murali did. After cricket practice the following day, he got Chandika to take a detour to the shop and duly handed over the signed photograph. The kid was gobsmacked. It was typical of a man who truly cares.

One time while playing for Lancashire, a towering Andrew Flintoff stormed into the dressing room, ashen-faced, having failed to end a lean trot. Murali sauntered over casually. "What happened - another shit shot?"

Murali's caring personality is reflected, too, in how committed he has been over the years in ensuring young players are looked after. On his first international tour, fresh out of school, when Sri Lanka toured England in 1991, he was among those entrusted with going to the launderette each evening. In those days the team was hierarchical and clique-y, and the senior players ruled like boarding-school prefects, but thankfully, since then Murali has been at the forefront of a transformation in team culture - it is now one in which everyone is treated equally. He invariably takes younger players under his wing when they come into the squad, taking them out for dinner and making sure they feel welcome.

I saw first-hand how down-to-earth he was in 2005, when I travelled with him to the tsunami-hit town of Batticaloa on Sri Lanka's east coast. Murali had single-handedly organised about 10 lorries of emergency supplies for distribution in the relief camps. In the evening we stopped at the Polonnaruwa Rest House to catch some sleep. They only had three bedrooms available for about 10 of us. Murali not only insisted on paying, he steadfastly refused to take a bed, spread a sheet on the floor, grabbed a pillow and slept happily.

Murali, like his father, who is famously charitable, is one of the most generous people I know. He can't say no to people - sadly a trait that has been exploited at times - and, always quietly, he has financially helped an enormous number of cricketers over the years. He has also contributed greatly to his charity, the Foundation of Goodness, founded by his like-minded manager, Kushil Gunasekera, often donating the entire proceeds of his endorsement contracts.

"When Murali takes on something, he does it properly," says Gunasekera. "When the tsunami struck, he told me we were going to build 1000 houses. I said that 1000 Test wickets would be easier. However, while he didn't get the 1000 wickets, he built the houses - 1024 of them, spread over 24 villages so far." The duo's next project has already begun, a Learning and Empowerment Institute in northern Sri Lanka based on their holistic rural development model in Seenigama in southern Sri Lanka.

Murali's charity work will undoubtedly now dominate his future life - after the World Cup, which he is committed to playing if selected - but it is hard to see him leaving cricket completely. He loves the game too deeply. He was obsessed from an early age, playing with his cousins for hours. They played softball cricket in the factory car park, "veranda" cricket in the house when his father was at work and even "book" cricket in the library at St Anthony's, when he was supposed to be studying.

Cricket left little time for studies. Murali spent hours and hours practising. School friends recount how he regularly skipped study time and dragged them to the nets, forcing them to keep wicket while he bowled endlessly at a single stump. For him cricket was the big priority then, and getting into the team was his No. 1 goal. When he was trying to break into the Under-17 team, he actually decided to take up bowling legbreaks for an entire season because there were two senior boys to bowl offbreaks already.

It is not a great surprise that he has decided to call time on his Test career. Being determined to leave at the right time and not stand in the way of young talent, he had been talking about it for some time. In fact, he considered quitting Test cricket in 2009 before being persuaded to stay on. He now feels, aged 38, that the unique physical challenge of Test cricket is too much for his body. As we have seen in this Test, he could easily play on with continued success, although probably not with the same potency and consistency for much longer. And if he did risk playing Test cricket too long, it would jeopardise his desire to continue playing the less-demanding Twenty20 and ODI formats. For Murali, a true pragmatist, the decision was simple in the end.

Unfortunately it won't be so easy for his team-mates and all his fans. Today will be the most emotional of days. Saying a final farewell to a legend will undoubtedly leave many teary-eyed. Hundreds of friends and colleagues are coming from all corners of Sri Lanka - and indeed some from different parts of the world. If you judge the calibre of the man by the love and loyalty of his friends, Murali is a very special person indeed. He will be sorely missed.

Charlie Austin is a former Sri Lanka editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    Excellent article love you Murali I remember Muhammad Yousaf was once asked in an interview that who is the most difficult bowler he ever faced, "Murali indeed" was his response... Cricketing world will surely miss you... love from Pakistan

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    wish all the best muralitharan

  • POSTED BY ranga_s on | July 23, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    I'm not gonna comment on how great the man himself was coz by now ppl should know the brilliance of the guy.but i still can't figure why certain people say laws of cricket were changed coz of him.nothing like that happened..and he did not threw it..his arm was bend..its true..but he didn't threw it..he kept his arm still at the point of delivery.the reason for the change in laws was becoz ICC found along with the tests they did with Murali that bowlers like McGrath, Brett Lee, Harbhajan Singh and few more had a straightening of their arm at the point of delivery. they found Murali's arm bended about 14degrees, they found Harbhajan have some where about 17 when he bowls the doosra. brett lee was the paceman with the biggest margin if i can remember correctly. so to make cricket more interesting and to allow more brilliance around ICC changed the rules. Just becoz there are extra 5 overs of Powerplay and ppl hv better S/R's they are no better than they were.it add more flavor.liv with it

  • POSTED BY vanteal001 on | July 23, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    A truley, truley great cricketer and human being, I consider myself blessed to have seen a true legend of this great game we love so much. As much as I would have loved you to, I knew you could not go on forever and that this sad day had to come. Your record will live on for generations to come and this world will have to produce someone very special indeed to break it. Every great person in history have always left a legacy, thank you for the legacy you have left us. The world of cricket will miss you, I will miss you. Be blessed.

  • POSTED BY natmastak_so-called on | July 23, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    thanks INDIANS for letting murli achieve what he deserved.

  • POSTED BY natmastak_so-called on | July 23, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    thanks INDIANS for letting murli achieve what he deserved.

  • POSTED BY mehtab786 on | July 23, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    Although its a great article .. but no article in the world pay the deserving tribute to Murli . He was a Legend of Life not only Cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    murali's face expression tells what he is and how he is? when he is in the bowling action his face shows how hungry he is for the wicket. but once out from that action you can see his smiling all-around the ground. sure srilanka will miss him a lot in all sense and we the cricket lovers too. thanks to hear that he will be in IPL.

  • POSTED BY ajee on | July 23, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    All I can sum up is that these species of gentlemen are becoming extinct and we are not doing anythign to protect them.. It started with McGrath, Warne, Kumble n now this gentlemen.... well y cant it be tht these people play longer :) .. well jus a stupid thought.. but I would still pay to watch them play.. well many more will follow the list after 2011 WC... SRT, punter to name a few.. I'm afraid, I mite stop watching this lovely game after that.. Very proud to be born in this era where I could grow looking at these stars perform...

    Wishing all the best to murali in all his endeavours!! all the best...:)

  • POSTED BY Knablig on | July 23, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    hate to say this, but he's a chucker. In the eyes of most people he will always be the person whom the cowardly ICC wouldn't ban for life because it would spell the death-knell for Sri Lankan cricket. Shane Warne bowled with a straight arm, Murali with a crooked one. In a hundred years they will remember Murali as a cheat and that his record is void. Hopefully this comment will be published and others who believe that Darrell Hair was vindicated in his No-Balling of Chuckalot will come forward to right this giant wrong. 800 wickets? 0 wickets pure and simple. Shane Warne has the record, no doubt about it.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 21:26 GMT

    Excellent article love you Murali I remember Muhammad Yousaf was once asked in an interview that who is the most difficult bowler he ever faced, "Murali indeed" was his response... Cricketing world will surely miss you... love from Pakistan

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    wish all the best muralitharan

  • POSTED BY ranga_s on | July 23, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    I'm not gonna comment on how great the man himself was coz by now ppl should know the brilliance of the guy.but i still can't figure why certain people say laws of cricket were changed coz of him.nothing like that happened..and he did not threw it..his arm was bend..its true..but he didn't threw it..he kept his arm still at the point of delivery.the reason for the change in laws was becoz ICC found along with the tests they did with Murali that bowlers like McGrath, Brett Lee, Harbhajan Singh and few more had a straightening of their arm at the point of delivery. they found Murali's arm bended about 14degrees, they found Harbhajan have some where about 17 when he bowls the doosra. brett lee was the paceman with the biggest margin if i can remember correctly. so to make cricket more interesting and to allow more brilliance around ICC changed the rules. Just becoz there are extra 5 overs of Powerplay and ppl hv better S/R's they are no better than they were.it add more flavor.liv with it

  • POSTED BY vanteal001 on | July 23, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    A truley, truley great cricketer and human being, I consider myself blessed to have seen a true legend of this great game we love so much. As much as I would have loved you to, I knew you could not go on forever and that this sad day had to come. Your record will live on for generations to come and this world will have to produce someone very special indeed to break it. Every great person in history have always left a legacy, thank you for the legacy you have left us. The world of cricket will miss you, I will miss you. Be blessed.

  • POSTED BY natmastak_so-called on | July 23, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    thanks INDIANS for letting murli achieve what he deserved.

  • POSTED BY natmastak_so-called on | July 23, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    thanks INDIANS for letting murli achieve what he deserved.

  • POSTED BY mehtab786 on | July 23, 2010, 13:24 GMT

    Although its a great article .. but no article in the world pay the deserving tribute to Murli . He was a Legend of Life not only Cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    murali's face expression tells what he is and how he is? when he is in the bowling action his face shows how hungry he is for the wicket. but once out from that action you can see his smiling all-around the ground. sure srilanka will miss him a lot in all sense and we the cricket lovers too. thanks to hear that he will be in IPL.

  • POSTED BY ajee on | July 23, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    All I can sum up is that these species of gentlemen are becoming extinct and we are not doing anythign to protect them.. It started with McGrath, Warne, Kumble n now this gentlemen.... well y cant it be tht these people play longer :) .. well jus a stupid thought.. but I would still pay to watch them play.. well many more will follow the list after 2011 WC... SRT, punter to name a few.. I'm afraid, I mite stop watching this lovely game after that.. Very proud to be born in this era where I could grow looking at these stars perform...

    Wishing all the best to murali in all his endeavours!! all the best...:)

  • POSTED BY Knablig on | July 23, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    hate to say this, but he's a chucker. In the eyes of most people he will always be the person whom the cowardly ICC wouldn't ban for life because it would spell the death-knell for Sri Lankan cricket. Shane Warne bowled with a straight arm, Murali with a crooked one. In a hundred years they will remember Murali as a cheat and that his record is void. Hopefully this comment will be published and others who believe that Darrell Hair was vindicated in his No-Balling of Chuckalot will come forward to right this giant wrong. 800 wickets? 0 wickets pure and simple. Shane Warne has the record, no doubt about it.

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 12:57 GMT

    Hats off for one of the greatest player in game.

    From Pakistani fan

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    Murali- would be down to earth humble as a person even when he was on top of the world as a cricketer

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 7:19 GMT

    A true legend, though I was shattered when India gave him 800th wicket, but after reading this article I am moved, there's change in opinion, kudos to the tireless efforts, inspirational and intimidating character, this shows how a true legend is built within and outside, BTW this is my first ever comment on any of the website I keep visiting, I was so intimated with this article that it prompted me to post my comments, three H's sums up his character: Hardworking Humble Human being (Good) Cheers! Suresh V

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    A true legend, though I was shattered when India gave him 800th wicket, but after reading this article I am moved, there's change in opinion, kudos to the tireless efforts, inspirational and intimidating character, this shows how a true legend is built within and outside, BTW this is my first ever comment on any of the website I keep visiting, I was so intimated with this article that it prompted me to post my comments, three H's sums up his character: Hardworking Humble Human being (Good) Cheers! Suresh V

  • POSTED BY Shashi.55 on | July 23, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    Moving tribute to this genial genius who gave us so much joy and thrill. Murali's record is certainly great, but greater gentleman who evoked the love and respect of his fellow players. Murali is one-in-a-lifetime cricketer and we are fortunate to have seen him in action. Farewell Murali, we will surely miss you !

  • POSTED BY Raviss on | July 23, 2010, 6:06 GMT

    Simply the best! a role model for youngsters.. a thing or two to learn for young arrogant cricketers like Yuvraj Singh n co. on how to carry fame n success! Wish u all the best Murali!! u truly hav been a great legend!! No1 deserves it more...

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    A poignant, wonderfully articulated tribute to a great human being and role model. I too was once uncertain about the legality of his action, but after all the irrefutable scientific evidence made available after the tests, only an ill-informed, jealous and / or delusional fool would argue about the legitimacy of his action. To argue that he chucks is to argue the world is flat because it seems so. So glad I was a part of the historic moment, to be able to celebrate with the public live, when you took that 800th wicket. Thank you Murali for all you've done for Sri Lanka and above all, showing us how handwork, humility, honesty and a smile can still bring true greatness through trying adversities.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | July 23, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    Brilliant article! You have proved wrong my assumption that cricinfo is only for live scores and statistics. Take a bow for the greatest spinner in the world!

    Cheers from India!

  • POSTED BY on | July 23, 2010, 4:10 GMT

    Beautifully written article about a beautiful person inside and outside

  • POSTED BY Jemesa on | July 23, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    It will be a dream if Murli could come over to Fiji and share his cricket prowess to our cricketers. No other better person to learn from than Murli !!!!

  • POSTED BY Jemesa on | July 23, 2010, 2:07 GMT

    I have avidly followed Murli's carreer since 1994 and i have been awe-struck by his performance. I never knew what cricket was before. Even though i still have not played cricket in my entire life, Murli is solely responsible for giving me that passion for cricket. World cricket, today, has become under-talented. However, all goood things come to an end. Thanks Murli for your contribution to world cricket. God bless you.

  • POSTED BY ZEUS00 on | July 22, 2010, 22:32 GMT

    Great article, very sincere and evocative descriptions about Murali... the last samurai of spinning. Wouldn't it be great to read a similar sort of tribute from an Aussie cricket writer? Or is that asking for the impossible!!!

  • POSTED BY BSARAV on | July 22, 2010, 22:24 GMT

    Lovely Article :) Iam an Indian and met Murali in Singapore airport during transit and spoke for a brief 5 mins. Amazed by his down-to-earth personality, humbleness, human-value and candidness I totally forgot to request his autograph. He reminded jokingly and signed on my boarding pass which I cherish it till today. Some of the high-head immature Indian players (Yuvi - spoilt talent, Harbhajan, Shrisant, Kohli etc..) should get some lesson out of fine human beings like Murali, Tendulkar, Akram etc. and try to change themselves from hype and partying. People like MURALI are being cherished not only for their talent, ALSO FOR THEIR HUMAN VALUE. I WILL BE MISSING U MURALI! HAPPY RETIREMENT, BEST WISHES TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY... Its hard to see fans of opponent team getting excited by a players valor. Murali .. u Rock! Hope to catch up with you one day in an airport transit or chennai or some where.. Will cherish that moment for lifetime! Regards Saravan

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 20:59 GMT

    Excellent read...i got teary eyed a bit just by reading it...really nice...

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    Thank you Charlie for such a moving and befitting article.I have read so much in Cricinfo about Sachin Tendulkar the person but nothing about Murali the person - truly warmed my heart.

  • POSTED BY Murtaza90 on | July 22, 2010, 18:06 GMT

    lovely article :))) Murli the best

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Sarong?!

  • POSTED BY Mahiru on | July 22, 2010, 17:31 GMT

    today i traveled a considerable distance to galle, just to watch murali taking 800 and so he did..i do have to admit that i was trying hard to hide my tears when the thought crossed my mind, "no more Murali in the white kit".. that was pretty hard to make up my mind

  • POSTED BY nydream04 on | July 22, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    Good bye my friend!!! It was indeed a great moment to c you deominating world cricket...A spinner like you will come by rarely...May Allah bless you and your future career goal.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 16:07 GMT

    great article which shows the real murali

  • POSTED BY Rajesh. on | July 22, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    800 Test Match wickets......... min-boggling !!

  • POSTED BY Bang_La on | July 22, 2010, 15:52 GMT

    Thank YOU Charkie for sharing the Murali you know inside. He will be cherished for long long time and if you ever meet you, please tell him that one of his fans from Bangladesh has thanked him for appearing as a cricketer in the fan's lifetime. I wish all the best for Murali and for you too Charlie.

  • POSTED BY BoomBoom_Khan on | July 22, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    A great legend is carved in the books of history. A man larger than life, just like the great Imran Khan who got him team a world cup win in his final appearance taking 3 wickets and scoring 68 runs. Looks like God is determined to make then great as they have dedicated themselves to the God's cause. Lots of love and respect for Murali. I wish You best of luck with your humanitarian efforts and a long, joyous and prosperous live. Peace!

    Khan (Pakistan/Peshawar/USA)

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Great article, revealing great qualities of a true legend..! We owe him much to the great success if Sri Lankan cricket..! Jayasuriya has a lot to learn from Murali as to how one should step down from the game with dignity..!

    Have a great retirement....!

  • POSTED BY cskfangg on | July 22, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    In chennai i met him once with his wife,at there heart foundation Hospital.. Iam gone to hospital for my freind... when he crossed me, I just cant believe my eyes..he casualy said.. hai' to me and passed on ..I got exhited and chased him for Autograph..he said me to calm down and gives his autograph.. such a humble & simple person.. He lives forever in my heart..,not only for his bowling but also for his humanity..

  • POSTED BY Umesh.Indith on | July 22, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    I am an Australian born and bred in Aussie. I have seeing so much hype about our past cricketers of the likes of Warne, McGrath. They are great but u have admit truly that guy has beeing something special. Getting 800 odd wickets in mainly those low, dusty, batsmen friendly tracks in Asia with almost no major support bowler from other end and still ending up with such a great of wickets, 5/10 wickets hauls of matches is absolutely remarkable. Even though I am a Aussie, I consider Murali is the true legend - probably the finest spinner game ever seen. Yet his modesty is amazing. Champ, you will be forever cherished in Cricket as a true legend!

  • POSTED BY Paresh.K on | July 22, 2010, 13:32 GMT

    It truly signifies the man Murli is,the toughest competitor on field and the best mate outside. He has truly put srilanka on the map of world cricket. In the days of cricket where sledging was part of the armour,Murli flashed his smile and had the batsmen in his kitty. The wizard has left the game as "King",Murli thank you for everything,your legacy will live on forever. You are a Legend, and i will tell my grand kids stories of the Wizard from Kandy.....

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 13:30 GMT

    Thank You for this wonderful article!!!! Murali we love u and u'll always be missed

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | July 22, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Wow !!!! Murali...you are a great in the truest sense...every Indian is thrilled that you took your 800th wicket aganst us...May you enjoy your retirement.

  • POSTED BY ashfaqshafi on | July 22, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    Amazing piece of writing about an amazing person.Always loved to see him play.He was always smiling even when he was carted out of ground.

  • POSTED BY VipulPatki on | July 22, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    Isn't it high time Murali is knighted?

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    i love when he speak in tamil. really his farther is famously charitable never say no for any one, i think god will repeat him giving such a boy. god bless u murali.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 13:04 GMT

    Here's to Murali. I hv mixed feelings as he took his last wickets against my team, India but I cannot begrudge him that.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 12:53 GMT

    Murali seems like a nice chap and humanitarian. I still feel the change in cricketing laws helped him a lot....

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    Hi! I am Bhasker Pakhrin from Nepal. We all the audience will miss him. I was always fascinated by the way he bowled, I used to watch every deliveries he used to bowl (of course whenever i watch SriLanka game). You never know, any of his delivery can take wicket. You have really made South Asians proud.

  • POSTED BY Da-Silva1996 on | July 22, 2010, 12:13 GMT

    I am a South African and only started watching cricket because of unique players like Murali, Jayasuriya and am a firm Sri Lankan Fan.It is without a doubt that Murali is the greatest cricketer and human being in the history of the sport.No-one can compare with him, his work ethics, his records and his humble ways.His 800 wicket haul represents a marathon work ethic that will forever be engraved in the cricketing history and there will never be another bowler who will even reach 700 wickets.This is truly a sad day for us all to see the legend of all legends retire with a bang.Farewell Muttiah Muralidharan the greatest cricketer of all time!!!

  • POSTED BY shihan12 on | July 22, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    WOW..one of the great articale I ever red in cricinfo.ya its a nice tribute to Murali.We cant aske more than this from anyone.He is a great cricketer, he is a legend but more than that HE IS A GREAT HUMAN BEING!!!!!!!!!!!!! no words to explain how he treat to pepole..... WE GONA MISS U MURALI !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY SouthernGizmo on | July 22, 2010, 12:08 GMT

    Best cricketer and magnificent human being!! Thoroughly deserved fairy tale ending. Cricket stands tall due to the stalwarts like Murali. As an Indian cricket fan its a tremendous relief to see him go and as a cricket lover- so sad. The spin world wouldn't be same anymore. Hope there's someone to carry the baton.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    A legend :)!! Hats off Murali... Sri Lanka salutes you :)!!

  • POSTED BY cricket_ftw on | July 22, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    yuvraj and co., learn from murali.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Even though India lost, they couldn't have lost to a better team and player like Murali. We will all miss him and love him.

  • POSTED BY diri on | July 22, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Being a south african i did not watch murali as much as others from srilanka did. i only watched When Sa played srilanka i used to admire him because of his unusual bowling style and manner in which he bats. i feel sad now and wish i could have watched him more......for me he is the greatest sportsman that ever lived because of his heart and humanity to others. no1 else has been like that but i hope others can look at murali and be good cricket embasadors like him....

  • POSTED BY Charindra on | July 22, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    Amazing tribute to the legend. Cricket will never be the same again without that smile, those eyes, that arm, and that wrist. I'm privileged to have been able to follow his career. Good luck Murali, there will never be another like you.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    Fantastic article. Murali was a legend in all aspects and we shall miss him. Really enjoyed reading this. Makes me wish I knew him.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    Murali,your are a true legend, as a sri lankans we are so proud of you murali, there will be no one like you in the future, we will be sadly miss you!!! Good luck for your rest of the future.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    Well written about the one of the humblest man in any form of cricket. Murali's simplicity and hardwork has taken him places most only talk or dream of. His charity work is something that is hard to describe, but nothing less than godliness. His ever-smiling expressions will be missed on the grounds, but his work off the field will continue.

  • POSTED BY albstp on | July 22, 2010, 11:43 GMT

    I am lucky to live in an era where I was able to see Murali bowls. A legend but a down to earth person. It is rare to see people like Murali

  • POSTED BY rustin on | July 22, 2010, 11:42 GMT

    The only one I will miss more when they retire is SRT. And then I'll probably stop watching cricket.

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  • POSTED BY rustin on | July 22, 2010, 11:42 GMT

    The only one I will miss more when they retire is SRT. And then I'll probably stop watching cricket.

  • POSTED BY albstp on | July 22, 2010, 11:43 GMT

    I am lucky to live in an era where I was able to see Murali bowls. A legend but a down to earth person. It is rare to see people like Murali

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    Well written about the one of the humblest man in any form of cricket. Murali's simplicity and hardwork has taken him places most only talk or dream of. His charity work is something that is hard to describe, but nothing less than godliness. His ever-smiling expressions will be missed on the grounds, but his work off the field will continue.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    Murali,your are a true legend, as a sri lankans we are so proud of you murali, there will be no one like you in the future, we will be sadly miss you!!! Good luck for your rest of the future.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 11:48 GMT

    Fantastic article. Murali was a legend in all aspects and we shall miss him. Really enjoyed reading this. Makes me wish I knew him.

  • POSTED BY Charindra on | July 22, 2010, 11:49 GMT

    Amazing tribute to the legend. Cricket will never be the same again without that smile, those eyes, that arm, and that wrist. I'm privileged to have been able to follow his career. Good luck Murali, there will never be another like you.

  • POSTED BY diri on | July 22, 2010, 11:57 GMT

    Being a south african i did not watch murali as much as others from srilanka did. i only watched When Sa played srilanka i used to admire him because of his unusual bowling style and manner in which he bats. i feel sad now and wish i could have watched him more......for me he is the greatest sportsman that ever lived because of his heart and humanity to others. no1 else has been like that but i hope others can look at murali and be good cricket embasadors like him....

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    Even though India lost, they couldn't have lost to a better team and player like Murali. We will all miss him and love him.

  • POSTED BY cricket_ftw on | July 22, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    yuvraj and co., learn from murali.

  • POSTED BY on | July 22, 2010, 12:05 GMT

    A legend :)!! Hats off Murali... Sri Lanka salutes you :)!!