Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Whats Murali upto?

It was way back in late 2007 that Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan claimed his 709th test wicket to become the highest wicket taker in test match cricket overtaking Shane Warne's tally of 708 wickets. And, since then Muralitharan has hardly made news in international test cricket. It has been more than two years since Muralitharan claimed his 709th test victim and since then, Muralitharan has taken just 83 wickets after getting the wicket of Paul Collingwood in the home series against England on December 3rd 2007. Present statistics of Muralitharan suggest that the off spinner has bagged 792 test wickets.

Since that test match against England in 2007, Sri Lanka has played 16 test matches and much to their surprise, Muralitharan has featured in all these 16 games for Sri Lanka. This means that Muralitharan has played as many as 32 innings and could manage just 83 wickets as mentioned meaning just less than 3 wickets per innings. Muralitharan's overall statistics suggest 5 wickets on an average per match. Murali's career suggests that he holds the record for the maximum number of 5 wicket hauls and 10 wickets hauls with his number of 5 and 10 wicket hauls being 66 and 22 respectively.

However, if Murali's record past the Kandy test where he claimed his world record is taken into consideration, he has been able to take just five 5 wicket hauls with one against England in Colombo in that series, one against West Indies at Port of Spain, two against India at Colombo in 2008 and one against Bangladesh at Dhaka. Out of these, only one 10 wicket haul has been made possible for Muralitharan when he took a combo of two 5 wicket hauls by taking 5 in the 1st and 6 in the 2nd at Colombo in 2008. Out of these, only the ones against Bangladesh & West Indies have been away from home and only one have been for a winning cause (leaving the match against Bangladesh).

The lone victory the Murali could achieve for his team by taking 5 wickets was against India in Colombo which Sri Lanka won by an innings and 239 runs. Even the match against West Indies where Muralitharan took 5 wickets ended in a draw at Port of Spain. So has been the case with Muralitharan in ODIs where the bowler has managed only 9 wickets after claiming his 503rd wicket against India in early 2009. And, none of the ODIs have seen Murali emerging as a match winner for his team after his epic ODI against India. But, the SL selection committee doesn't give a 2nd thought before including him in the playing XI.

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