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Was the Muttiah Muralitharan in Sri Lanka an underrated genius?

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On the back of the comment focused on actor Vijay Sethupathi about his Muttiah Muralitharan biopic 800. We wonder if the legendary Sri Lankan off-spinner is an underrated genius?

Statistically undoubtedly one of, if not the best bowler ever to play fine cricket. Sitting a full 92 scalp for Shane Warne in the list of all-time wicket-takers in test matches it would be foolish to question the genius of the man simply known as ‘Murali’.

Well, often when it comes to the greats of the game, his name is often overlooked. Perhaps because of its unique, never-before-seen and most likely never-repeated bending action.

Also read – The top 5 best spinners in T20 Cricket

Muttiah Muralitharan plagued with controversy

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 07: Muthiah Muralitharan from The Renegades bowls to Luke Wright of the Stars during the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars at Etihad Stadium on December 7, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge / Getty Images)

Often called into question the legality of the action, due to the bend in the arm upon delivery. Something only the Kandy-born spinner could create because of the joints in his elbow.

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However, it was this unique ability that perhaps got him outside of certain conversations and certainly got him in the hot water more than once.

In 1999 the bowler had already been approved by the ICC no-balled for alleged throws by referee Brett Emerson during a World Cup match. A fire blight that ravaged him for years. Especially when the infamous Sri Lankan with his infectious smile introduced his ‘Doosra’ delivery that could turn the other way with little to no discernible change in action.

After multiple tweaks and tests, throughout his career, the genius who no one, and certainly not a batsman, continued to fully figure out how he did it, amazed the world, eventually finishing with 800 Test wickets right after last appearance against India in 2010.

The legacy

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA – MARCH 29: Muttiah Muralitharan (L) of Sri Lanka bowls to Ross Taylor during the ICC World Cup semifinal between New Zealand and Sri Lanka 2011 at R. Premadasa Stadium on March 29, 2011 in Colombo, Sri Lanka . (Photo by Michael Steele / Getty Images)

After enjoying a great career both internationally and in franchise cricket, both in red and white ball versions, Muttiah Muralitharan retired a Sri Lankan hero and legend in 2011 at the age of 38. Murali took 800 wickets in test cricket and also won the ICC Cricket World Cup. A true superstar of the game. A cricket genius.

Now, 48 years old, Murali coaches IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad and passes his wisdom on to more conventional bowlers. He can be safe in the knowledge that his action and his stats may never be seen again.

However, the next time someone discusses the great bowlers who have graced the game, such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Courtney Walsh and James Anderson. Make sure to name the best of them all … Muttiah Muralitharan.

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