“Murali” A Cricket legend among us
Muttiah Muralitharan ( Tamil: முத்தையா முரளிதரன், born 17 April 1972), often referred to as Murali, is a Sri Lankan cricketer, who was rated the greatest test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2002. He retired from Test cricket in 2010, registering his 800th and final wicket on 22 July 2010 from his final ball in his last test match. He is the first and only Tamil of Indian origin to represent Sri Lanka in international cricket. He holds Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI).
Muralitharan’s paternal grandfather Periyasamy Sinasamy came from South India to work in the tea plantations of central Sri Lanka in 1920. Muralitharans belong to the Kongu Vellalar caste which is the caste majority of people from the north-western part of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Sinasamy later returned to the country of his birth with his daughters and settled in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India. However his sons, including Muralitharan’s father Muttiah, remained in Sri Lanka.
Muralitharan was born in the village of Nattarampotha in Kundasale (near Kandy), the eldest of the four sons to Sinnasamy Muttiah and Lakshmi. Muralitharan’s father Sinnasamy Muttiah, runs a successful biscuit-making business.
When he was nine years old Muralitharan was sent to St. Anthony’s College, Kandy, a private school run by Benedictine monks. He began his cricketing career as a medium pace bowler but on the advice of his school coach, Sunil Fernando, he took up off-spin when he was fourteen years old. He soon impressed and went on to play for four years in the school First XI. In those days he played as an all-rounder and batted in the middle order. In his final two seasons at St Anthony’s College he took over one hundred wickets and in 1990/1 was named as the ‘Bata Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’.
After leaving school he joined Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club and was selected for the Sri Lanka A tour of England in 1991. He played in five games but failed to capture a single wicket. On his return to Sri Lanka he impressed against Allan Border‘s Australian team in a practice game and then went on to make his Test debut at R. Premadasa Stadium in the Second Test Match of the series.
Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He took the wicket of Gautam Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo to surpass Wasim Akram‘s ODI record of 502 wickets. Muralitharan became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when he overtook the previous record-holder Shane Warne on 3 December 2007. Muralitharan had previously held the record when he surpassed Courtney Walsh‘s 519 wickets in 2004, but he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne.
Averaging over six wickets per Test, Muralitharan was one of the most successful bowlers in the game. Muralitharan held the number one spot in the International Cricket Council’s player rankings for Test bowlers for a record period of 1,711 days spanning 214 Test matches.
Muralitharan married Madhimalar Ramamurthy, an Indian national, on 21 March 2005. Madhimalar is the daughter of late Dr S. Ramamurthy of Malar Hospitals, and his wife Dr Nithya Ramamurthy. Their first child, Naren, was born in January 2006.