Muralitharan (or "Murali" as he is commonly known) is the greatest off spinner in the history of cricket. In 2002, Wisden (who are considered to be the Bible of cricket) named him "the greatest bowler ever". Former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh has said that Muralitharan is second only to Donald Bradman in terms of greatness on the cricket field.
Muralitharan has an unorthodox bowling action, the legitimacy of which has been questioned a number of times. Each time, scientific evidence has appeared to exonerate the bowler. Despite this, the controversy over his bowling action refuses to lie down, even though in recent times, a number of his critics have changed their stance. West Indian Michael Holding, and Australian Dean Jones who once categorically stated that Muralitharan was cheating, have now changed their minds saying that the scientific evidence in support of Muralitharan is overwhelming.
Despite this, the Sri Lankan off spinner continues to receive criticism from various circles. A lot of this negative publicity has to do with the infamous "Doosra" that Muralitharan has developed.
Murali also has a strong fan club. English commentator Mark Nichollas and Australian Bruce Yardley are avid supporters of Muralitharan. The off spinner also commands great respect in the cricket world due to the vast amounts of humanitarian work he undertakes.
"Muralitharan is the Donald Bradman of bowling" - Steve Waugh
"Muralitharan is the best bowler ever..." - BBC Sports Website
"Murali is my hero..." - anonymous female cricket fan
Muttiah Muralitharan is a Sri Lankan off-spinner who has always thrown, still throws and will continue to throw every ball he bowls (or, well... throws)more...
Muralitharan (or Murali as he is known) is an extremely likeable person who has done much to increase the popularity of the game and is also heavily involved in humanitarian work, as seen in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami disaster.
But for all this Murali is a still a chucker. Several myths now circulate about how he has been proven not to throw the ball, and unfortunately more people buy these as time goes on.
"Muralitharan has a defect which means he cannot straighten his arm". If this were true then it should have been a case of bad luck, but if you can't bowl according to the rules then you can't play international cricket. Too bad it's not true. On the rare occasions that he bowls a leg spinner you will notice that his arm is PERFECTLY STRAIGHT. He has been tested with a brace to keep the arm straight and it was reported that he turns the ball just as far. So then why doesn't just keep it straight and avoid the controversy? Or bowl leg spin, which he is more than competent at?
"Murali's action has been cleared by a panel of experts and the ICC." Not really. The results showed that his arm flexes by 5 degrees when bowling the offspinner and 14 degrees when bowling the doosra. The spineless ICC, rather than deal with a controversy (Zimbabwe, anyone?), just changed the rules so everyone could straig...