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1.
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
by cricket junky April 24, 2005
 
2.
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)

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 straighten their arm by 10 degrees. And what's to stop you bowling differently in the lab? Every cricketer knows their action changes with an "effort" ball out on the field.

"Murali has such flexible shoulders and wrists that, at real time, it gives the optical illusion of straightening the arm". Look at a still photo of Murali at the point of delivery. 'Nuff said.

The saga has been carrying on for so long now that it has worn most down to the point of "Oh for God's sake just let him chuck." It's probably too late to have his name expunged from the record books, but Murali will eventually grab as many Bangladeshi and Zimbabwean wickets on tailor-made decks as he feels he needs to, then finally carry through on one of his constant threats to retire. Hopefully then he can continue his great work off the field, and leave more of a legacy than a generation of Sri Lankan kids who are all running around with bent arms at the moment.

And the cricket world will breathe a sigh of relief, until the next crisis...
The Muralitharan Song
(To the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Throw, throw, throw your ball
Gently down the pitch
Murali, Murali, Murali, Murali
Isn't life a bitch?

Throw, throw, throw your ball
Gently through the air
Murali, Murali, Murali, Murali
Here comes Darrell Hair!

NO BALL!

by Choda Boy 57 September 04, 2006