Tag: Muttiah Muralitharan

Sourav Ganguly, man of a thousand spooky impressions (okay, two)

We could write about Mitchell Johnson’s Test retirement. We could write about some actual cricket. Or we could publish some tweets in which Sourav Ganguly looks frighteningly sickly.

Hey Sourav, do an impression of a zombie.


Top drawer.

Now do an impression of a ghost.


Not bad.

Note Murali’s T-shirt as well. Murali loves cricket so bloody much, he’s actually gone and got the T-shirt.

Murali’s the best.

(We’ll do something on Johnson tomorrow.)

Pics taken from Virender Sehwag’s Twitter account.

Muralimania and English cricket’s monomania

Today we’re going to direct you towards two pieces of ours which appeared outside the kingdom.

First up, our latest King of Cricket is Murali. Don’t worry, it ain’t all numbers. It’s about the joints, the graft and the batting really.

Secondly, last week’s Cricinfo piece, entitled English cricket rocked by non-Cook related incident. As an added bonus, that one contains a little bit of Nick Knight.

Almost inevitably, Cook is in the news again today. Paul Downton has given another interview, which basically means Cook’s relationship with the public has dropped another few notches through no fault of his own.

Downtown has an incredible knack for alienating people. When he speaks, what you’re left with is a strong sense that someone has wagged their finger at you and told you they know best.

Apparently he sits in on selection meetings these days. He says he is happy with the selectors he employs (his words) and happy with the decision to continue with Cook as captain, but that the selectors will meet to discuss everything on Friday. Presumably they won’t be jumping at the chance to make their boss unhappy.

Asked about Cook’s form, Downton said: “Yes, he’s in miserable form. But form can change. I’d suggest he’s ‘due’ – wouldn’t you?”

We’ve covered this before, haven’t we?

Another highlight is: “He’s the natural leader of that group of players.”

A natural leader in the sense of being a great orator? A natural leader based on the fact he’s getting great results? What is a natural leader? Is that how leaders are identified; by their nature? Do the ECB do a DNA test? What chromosomes are they looking for?

The ECB really are beyond parody now.

Downton finished by saying: “I want to enfranchise everybody and I want them to be part of what’s happening in English cricket.”

Remember kids, if you’ve been enfranchised by a stockbroker, you should inform a parent, teacher or policeman immediately. It’s not your fault.

Mop-up of the day – Younus Khan’s bat and Murali’s balls

Younus Khan’s just made his third Test hundred on the bounce. We mentioned that he was underrated after the first one. Let’s revisit that.

We all know Younus averages some way north of 50 and that he’s now made Test hundreds against every nation, but let’s dig a little deeper. Last time we mentioned that only 19 of his 93 Tests have been played truly at home and that hints at what’s so great about him. He’s adaptable.

The first of this trio of hundreds saw him construct non-scoring foundations for his innings. Since then, he’s become ever-more expansive. This third hundred came off 128 balls.

But it’s conditions as well. Not only has Younus scored a hundred against every Test-playing nation, he’s also scored one in every country bar Australia, where he’s only played three matches. Only in South Africa and the West Indies does he average less than 40 and only in the Windies does he average less than 30. There are always gaps and that’s some CV.


Midway through our Cricinfo piece about how Pakistan and Australia have prepared for this Test, we poked fun at Australia’s tendency to believe that their success is directly linked to how attacking they are. It was therefore quite amusing to see that they’d tweaked their team and brought Glenn Maxwell in to bat at number three.

Maybe it’ll work.

Murali’s balls

YouTube can make wasters of us all, but every now and again a long shift is justified when you catch a glimpse of what must rank as being one of the all-time great cricket banners.


Tendulkar v Murali

We wrote about the various World Cup storylines during the quarter-finals. The stories of Tendulkar and Murali, two ageing greats, seem to be the strongest now, but that’s mostly due to hindsight.

All the same, it makes for a good narrative. There’s also a minor subplot that no-one will care about: it’s Lancashire v Yorkshire!

We’re pretty keen for Tendulkar to win the World Cup in his home city, because that really would be a good story. Then again, he did play 16 matches for Yorkshire almost 20 years ago. Still not forgiven him for that.

Murali, by contrast, is an honorary Lancastrian having represented the county a bucketload of times. He too is one of our favourite cricketers and we’d love to see him win the World Cup in his final international match, if only to see just how much one man can smile.

Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation – that’s how we’re viewing it with our famously boundless optimism.

Muttiah Muralitharan’s 800th Test wicket

Muttiah Muralitharan celebrates dismissing Pragyan Ojha for some reasonWe don’t get it. It was only Pragyan Ojha. What’s the big deal?

If we’d taken 800 Test wickets, we wouldn’t be jumping up and down about getting Pragyan Ojha out. We’d have been more worked up about dismissing better batsmen, like Ian Salisbury or Chris Lewis.

Muttiah Muralitharan retirement – knee jerk reaction

We’re certainly intending to do a proper Muralitharan retirement post – possibly after his last match – but for now, we can’t be bothered. These are the things that immediately came to mind when we heard he was retiring:

  1. Muttiah Muralitharan might just surpass Steve Harmison in our estimation as the finest batsman of his generation. Here’s why.
  2. Murali’s bowling technique: you try it if it’s so advantageous.
  3. The following Andrew Flintoff story.

Flintoff walked back into the Lancashire dressing room after getting out and everyone was staying out of his way because he was furious. Except for Murali.

Murali said: “What’s the matter, Freddie? Another crap shot, was it?”

He smiled when he said it and he got away with it. Murali and Flintoff are friends. You can’t teach good-natured cheek like that and only the tiniest fraction of the population can pull it off.

Murali’s batting

Murali’s always had a certain approach to batting.

  • Have a ruddy great swing at the ball
  • Miss
  • Have an even bigger swing at the next one

Usually this method fails for reasons that are fairly clear even to Murali. Occasionally it doesn’t and he hits 33 off 16 balls to win a match, as happened yesterday against Bangladesh.

It’s perversely heart-warming that after 447 international matches, no-one has managed to coach even the slightest bit of batting caution or batting reason into the man. It’s even more heart-warming that he can, on occasion, be entirely vindicated in his approach, even if it’s only once every 200-or-so matches.

Muttiah Muralitharan’s 709th Test wicket

Muttiah Muralitharan takes one measly wicketIt was Paul Collingwood. We’re sure he’s delighted with the honour. Muttiah Muralitharan is now the top Test wicket-taker of all time.

Murali’s had this record before of course, but no-one playing at present seems at all likely to overtake him, so we’ll assume that on this occasion, it’ll be his record for a while.

In this third paragraph, it’s customary to raise ‘the spectre’ of throwing allegations against Murali. The accusation is that he straightens his arm as he delivers the ball – this constitutes a ‘throw’ or a ‘chuck’ which is against the laws of cricket.

Even if he hadn’t been cleared of it 12 times, surely straightening your arm if you’re a spinner only makes it more difficult to land the ball where you want it to land. Go and try it next time there’s daylight – which’ll be about March in the UK. Straightening your arm only adds another variable into the mix.

If it’s really such an advantage, then his critics should just get out there and do it themselves. They should adopt his action and skip their way to 700-and-odd Test wickets at an average of about 21. That’s another thing, besides taking more wickets than anyone else, no-one around at present with more than a couple of handfuls of wickets can rival that average.

This piece should be more positive. Here are some links to some positive Murali articles:

Muttiah Muralitharan v England – 16 wickets in a match
First-hand experiences of facing Murali
Mahela Jayawardene reveals that you can’t master Muttiah Muralitharan

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