Monday, December 03, 2007

Murali Magic

I come from the land of the Four Spinners and the Five Rivers. One for each river (don't bother me with the politico-geographic nitpick that some of those rivers are not in India anymore; they're still in the Punjab), and with one river left unassigned in the hope that a fifth great spinner would show up someday. Given that Murali Muralitharan was born pretty close to India, and that he is a Tamil, some might have been forgiven for thinking that the Fifth Spinner had been born in the wrong country by mistake, that the stork, flying due North from the South Pole had made its drop-off prematurely. Whatever the particulars of that particular delivery (nyuk, nyuk, get it?) us Indians should not begrudge Sri Lanka the services of this genius. I know that many of my Australian friends take particular pleasure in disdaining him and his abilities, a strange failing in a culture that is otherwise generous and accepting. But I've learned to accept that deferred anger can be a strong force, and so long as Arjuna Ranatunga is alive and kicking, Murali will never experience the affection of an Australian cricketing public. But if they'd let themselves go, and try and appreciate this man's abilities a bit more, they'd be able to sample some truly wonderful cricketing talent, and whats more, to enjoy a true cricketing character, a rarity in this age of the manufactured character. One look at those eyes, that grin, that exuberance in his batting, and you know what I mean (as do thousands of other fans the world over). One of the best exhibitions of cricket I ever saw was Sri Lanka beating England at the Oval in 1998; Jayasuriya, Aravinda and finally, Murali made it so. That epic bowling performance on the fourth and fifth days will live long in my memory.

The closest I ever got to Murali was at Melbourne Airport on January 2nd, 2003 (ask me why I remember). I was on my way to Sydney with tickets for the Ashes test, and saw a bunch of very smartly turned out young men in the airport lobby. It was the Sri Lankan team. I quickly walked up to him, shook hands, and said "good luck". He grinned back and said "Thank you". No, thank *you* Murali, for all the great cricket over the years.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read abt Murali has broken record of Shane Warne at:

1:59 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

Love the man, hate the action, love his batting, hate the politics

8:24 AM  
Blogger Soulberry said...

Brilliant bowler, brilliant post!

1:19 AM  

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