Showing posts with label Muralitharan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Muralitharan. Show all posts

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Murali vs Warne - Who is the best?

 In another week, one of the greatest spin bowlers in the history of cricket will retire from Test Cricket, bringing to end an era of titanic spin bowlers. If the 80s were marked by all-rounders, the 1990s and 2000s have been marked by brilliant spin bowlers - Warne, Muralitharan, Kumble, each with over 600 Test wickets. Of these, Warne and Murali have been statistically superior to Kumble, were able to spin the ball more and were more effective on varied wickets.

The shadow of chucking has always hovered over Muralitharan's career. It originated in Australia, and Umpire Emerson, who called him for throwing in Australia in the 1990s still claims that he throws. Darrell Hair , who also called Murali for chucking in Australia argues that when he called him, he was right, and that the law has since changed. Hair is partially right, in that bio-mechanical analysis has revealed that nearly all bowlers in cricket bend their elbows to a lesser or greater extent, and that the bowling law, which was revised after the chucking controversies of the 1950s, and came to define a legal delivery, rather than defining explicitly the illegal delivery, was flawed. A really good way to present this analysis to the cricket following public, especially the boorish, ignorant Australian fans who would yell "No Ball" everytime Murali ran up to bowl in that country, would have been to subject every top bowler - Warne, McGrath, Gillespie, Kumble, Zaheer, Srinath, Gough etc etc to the very same bio-mechanical analysis that Murali underwent, and publish these results. I suspect that people would have been surprised by the results produced by some bowlers, especially McGrath and Gough. But this never happened, and Murali continued to be serially abused Down Under.

As a result, the Sri Lanka's most illustrious Tamil son has repeatedly had his quality questioned in influential circles. The sheer volume of Murali's wickets has bothered some people, who point to the large number of wickets that the Sri Lankan has taken against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (181 wickets in 26 Tests, Home and Away), as something that might count against Murali. I have excluded results against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the chart below, and the record shows that Murali at least holds his own against Warne.

In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Murali has been the more effective bowler. He takes an average 3.4 wickets per innings at 24.83 in Tests against Test opposition excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The corresponding figure for Warne is 2.6 wickets at 25.52. Murali takes a 5 wickets hauls once every 3.4 innings. The corresponding figure for Warne is 7.4 innings. Remember that Murali takes his Test wickets cheaper than Warne. The one area where Warne surpasses Murali is in their performance Away from home.

All of these statistical quirks can be explained by the relative strengths of the bowling attacks Murali and Warne played in. If you have a preference for sly leg breaks over more methodical off breaks, you may favor Warne. If you prefer sharp off-breaks, you may prefer Murali. Both Warne and Murali struggled in India, but both have troubled India on their home grounds. Both Warne and Murali hated bowling bad balls and I have watched both bowlers bowling for entire sessions without giving a batsman anything to cut. Murali was a more defensive bowler. He hated conceding boundaries, and often bowled with a deep-midwicket. Warne was more attacking. This might also be seen as indicative of their respective bowling attacks.

I hope Murali has a good match at Galle. It will be one of the great occasions in modern Test Match history. There have been only a handful of cricketers in Test Match History who belong in the same class as Muttiah Muralitharan. A man who almost single handedly improved Sri Lanka's fortunes in Test Cricket, and made them a force to be reckoned with. Would Sri Lanka have won at the Oval in 1998, even with the brilliant batting of de Silva and Jayasurya? Murali took 16 wickets in that game, including 9/52 in Englands second innings.

Muralitharan bowling in a Test Match has for over a decade been one of the great sights in cricket. It will be to Australia's eternal shame that they offered him their worst and not their best. But these little slights don't matter in the long run. Future historians and statisticians of the sport will look back at Murali's record with the same awe that is reserved today for Sydney Barnes and Don Bradman. Shane Warne revived leg spin bowling, but Muralitharan invented the Test Match victory for Sri Lanka.

Eight wickets? Even at the cost of an Indian defeat, I hope he gets them.

Srilanka vs India - Test History

 India vs Sri Lanka: Looking Back

An India-Sri Lanka Test series may not sound that mouth-watering a contest like the Ashes, but it no doubt, has its own aura. The battle between the two neighbours is not just about skills but also about patience. History is testimony to the fact that it tests the players’ endurance to the hilt. 

Considering the hot and humid conditions in the island nation, the series is bound to be a test of character for players from both sides.

For the record, India were the first country to play Sri Lanka after the ICC granted the Islanders Test status in 1981. Since then, the two cricketing superpowers have locked horns 32 times and produced some classical contests.

If India boast of players like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, Sri Lanka has the great Muthiah Muralitharan and the elegant Mahela Jayawardene.

Statistics suggest that India has had the upper hand more often than not against the Islanders but, beating Sri Lanka in their own den has always been tough. 

Sri Lanka have the upper hand at home with five wins from 15 Tests, with India securing three victories. Seven matches have ended in draws. 

Of the 32 matches played between the two sides, India have won 13 while Sri Lanka prevailed on five occasions.

Sri Lanka, once considered the underdogs, have transformed themselves into a major cricketing force and have earned the reputation of giant killers – a tag they acquired during the 1996 World Cup triumph under Arjuna Ranatunga.

Going into the series, the two teams are evenly poised, despite India being the numero uno Test side. The spin-friendly tracks of Sri Lanka are bound to help the spinners from both sides. If Sri Lanka have Muralitharan in their side then India will bank on Harbhajan Singh. 

Watch out for contests like Murali versus Sehwag and Harbhajan versus Jayawardene.

Srilanka vs India - 1st Test - Interesting Facts

India will seek to end a 17-year-long series drought in Sri Lanka when they go into the three-match Test series against the island nation on Sunday with a depleted bowling attack and dodgy form of some of their famed batsmen.
The last time India won a Test series in the island nation was in 1993 under Mohammed Azharuddin with a 1-0 scoreline and their track record has not been too impressive.

Approaching milestones
- Muttiah Muralitharan (792) needs just eight wickets in his farewell Test to become the first bowler to complete 800 Test wickets.

- Muralitharan, who is the leading wicket-taker against India with 97 wickets at an average of 33.34 in 21 Tests, requires just three wickets to complete a century of wickets.

- Having registered four hundreds in his previous four Tests - 105 not out & 143 against Bangladesh and 100 & 106 against South Africa, Sachin Tendulkar, with another century, would be equalling Gautam Gambhir's Indian record of most hundreds (5) in successive Tests.

- VVS Laxman (3959 in 60 Tests) needs 41 runs to complete his 4000 runs away from home.

- Virender Sehwag (19), in case of a hundred, would take his tally to 20.  He would become the fifth Indian batsman to post 20 centuries or more in Tests.  Sachin Tendulkar (47) heads the table, followed by Sunil Gavaskar (34), Rahul Dravid (29) and Mohammad Azharuddin (22).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Howard vs Murali - Cricket's new war

Sri Lankan spinning great Muttiah Muralitharan said on Wednesday that former Australian prime minister John Howard faced a challenge winning over south Asian cricket nations as the new head of the sport's world body.

Howard, 70, was named on Tuesday as Australia and New Zealand's candidate to take over the rotating International Cricket Council presidency when it becomes available in 2012.

Muralitharan, 37, told The Sydney Morning Herald his old feud with Howard was "all finished" but said the influential cricket nations in the subcontinent might need more convincing.

Howard angered Muralitharan and Sri Lankan cricket by publicly questioning the cricketer's unique bowling action in 2004, calling him a chucker.

"I'm not upset or angry with him or anything. At the time, I thought it was wrong -- that was my opinion and he had his," said Muralitharan, who is Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker with 792 wickets.

"We've got to think about the future: how is he going to handle things in cricket?" he added."It won't be an easy job. He has to convince the subcontinent -- that's going to be a tough challenge for him.

"Off-spinner Muralitharan refused to tour Australia in July 2004 after the cricket-mad Howard's comments, and the politician later apologised.

Elsewhere, the reaction to Howard's nomination was mixed.Cricket commentator Peter Roebuck said he had some regret that New Zealand's candidate, Sir John Anderson, was overlooked as he was "clearly the best qualified" of the two.

But Roebuck, writing in the Herald, said the Australian's "appointment is hardly a calamity. Only the most churlish will deny Howard his experience and acumen.

"Howard may be captivated by the bright lights of cricket but he is also familiar with the dark arts of manipulation. Better him than a hundred sweet talkers.

"Australian captain Ricky Ponting said Howard would "do a terrific job for world cricket"."No-one can doubt his passion for the game.

It's great that someone of his standing wants the job," he told the Herald.Malcolm Gray, the only other Australian to have held the ICC post, said Howard's political experience would be ideal for the job.

"What's needed is somebody independent and strong who will stand up to all the nations, all the boards -- including Australia -- and not be swayed," Gray told The Daily Telegraph.

"Like every international forum or organisation, it is riven with politics."But he's (Howard) had enormous experience as head of the biggest organisation in this country and he's obviously strong.

"Meanwhile, New Zealanders were bemused by the decision."This is not a bleat that a New Zealander did not get the gig, more wonderment that someone with absolutely no cricket experience did," The New Zealand Herald said."How could Cricket Australia not find someone more suited to the job than a politician?"

Murali announces retirement plans

Test cricket's most prolific wicket-taker, Muttiah Muralitharan, plans to retire from test cricket at the end of this year and from all forms of international cricket after the World Cup scheduled for next March.

The 37-year-old Sri Lankan cricketer, who has taken a world-record 792 wickets in 132 Tests, will finally call time on an 18-year career after the West Indies' two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in October. He needs only eight more scalps to become the first and only player to take 800 wickets.

"My future is all about playing one-dayers until the World Cup. If I am fit and good I will play until the World Cup and the World Cup will be the end of the road," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

He also confirmed that he will play in third edition of the Indian Premier League despite a threat by terror outfit al-Qaeda and also urged his teammates to go and play in India.

Sources - Cricketnext, PTI & CNN-IBN
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