Muttiah Muralitharan’s Test career spanned nearly two decades, during which he troubled batsmen from all across the Test cricket playing world. The brilliant off-spinner was a picture of intense concentration as he approached the crease to deliver. His presence would be certainly missed.
He reached the figure of 800 Test wickets in his last test match, played recently against India at Galle. So important has been his contribution to the Lankan Cricket that even President Mahinda Rajapaksa was there to honor him. The match started with Muralitharan on 792 wickets, needing 8 more to achieve what no other bowler had achieved in the over 100-year history of Test Cricket. He didn’t disappoint his fans; finishing his Test Cricket career on the round figure of 800 wickets. A fitting farewell to an illustrious career. If you are a true Muttiah Muralitharan fan then you can catch him in action on the CPL live streaming 2020.
Will Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of 800 Test wickets be broken? My view is – its very very difficult. A quick look at the list of bowlers with over 200 Test wickets against their name will tell us why. So far 57 bowlers have achieved this feat. The Top 15 bowlers on the list have retired and pose no competition to Muralitharan’s record. Harbhajan Singh at number 16 has 357 wickets against his name, he has been playing Test cricket for over a decade and has 4-5 years of good cricket left in him. Considering India play 8-10 test matches each year, I’d give him another 150 Test wickets and most probably he’ll retire somewhere near the 500 wickets mark. The same can be said about Daniel Vettori who is at the 21st position among the leading wicket-takers in Test cricket. In his 14 year Test career he has played 100 Test matches and taken 325 wickets.
What makes Muralitharan exceptional is his wickets per match ratio. He played 133 matches, that makes it 6 wickets per Test match. Compare it with Harbhajan’s 4.2 wickets per match and Vetttori’s 3.25. Their respective strike rates, i.e. balls delivered per wicket are 55, 67, and 77 respectively.
It was a combination of factors which helped Muralitharan reach this mammoth figure – he entered Test cricket at a young age, his first captain Arjuna Ranatunga had full faith in him and backed him during tough circumstances like the ball chucking controversy, his fitness levels are still very high, and he shouldered the burden of Sri Lankan bowling almost single-handedly.
Test Cricket is declining in popularity and T20 is threatening even One-day Cricket. In my view, it would be nearly impossible for another bowler to come close to the 800 figure mark in Test Cricket. At least no-one among the present crop is likely to overtake this tally. Muralitharan’s record is secure for at least a few decades.
Well bowled Murali!