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Muttiah Muralitharan

Kandy is dandy

Well now, if it isn't the rubber-wristed, Aussie-loving pop-eyed magician himself


© Ashish Padlekar

Aka
The Kandy Man, the smiling assassin.

In a nutshell
Son of a Kandy confectioner, the loose-limbed, open-chested Murali is only the greatest bloody spinner of all time, give or take a blond, plump Australian. Murali has the brightest, toothiest smile in world cricket, the craziest eyes, wrists that can rotate in any direction he wants them to, and possibly the most-debated elbow in the world. The only men who spin bigger than him were in the George W Bush administration.

Murali is a poster boy for
Old-school tail-end batting, when tailenders were happy-biffing clowns and not wannabe allrounders keen to take their averages into double figures and provide support to proper batsmen. Murali cares not for dead bats and high elbows, only for wild helicopter-swishes over his head to balls actually aimed at his feet, a technique that has resulted in only a few hundred international runs (1788) more than international wickets (1275).

Least favourite holiday destination
Australia.

If Bishan Bedi ruled the world
Murali would be an Olympic javelin thrower.

If Muttiah Muralitharan ruled the world
Bishan Bedi would be in trouble.

Apart from the wrist and elbow, Murali's most noticeable features are…
His eyes, just after he has delivered a ball. And the toothy grin when he picks up a wicket.

Taking wickets for him is as easy as…
Stealing candy from his father's factory.

He thought Shane Warne was what?
A "miserable man in his life."

What, the same blond, fun-loving, pizza-eating, poker-playing, sms-sending, distinctly non-miserable Warney?
Indeed, the same Warney. The great white blond had suggested, in a typically enlightened column, that Murali's action should be tested in match conditions. Murali responded with atypical aggression, cutting right to the bone: He was "very disappointed with what he [Warne] said. He must be a miserable man in his life. Maybe he just doesn't want me to pass his record."

But it's okay because…
The pair kissed and made up just in time to unveil the one trophy with the name that simply rolls of the tongue: the Warne-Muralitharan trophy. Apparently the whole fracas was a terrible "miscommunication" because, really, "there is no issue at all. I thought he said something about my bowling action and then I said he was a miserable man," Muralitharan said. "We just talked to each other and patched it up." Warne said simply, "I'm not that miserable."

Other plump cricketers he gets along with
Arjuna Ranatunga

Any other Aussies Murali thinks might be miserable?
Nope, not one.

Sure?
Well, okay, there is one other dumpy Australian. We're pretty sure Murali doesn't think too highly of Darrell Hair.

Most famous fashion accessory
A tailormade arm brace constructed from steel rods and plaster of paris, which Murali sported in a Channel 4 film… okay, a documentary. And it wasn't so much a fashion accessory as a science tool to prove that he doesn't straighten his elbow while bowling.

The university most likely to award Murali a doctorate
The University of Western Australia, Department of Biomechanics.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

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