Muttiah Muralidharan is widely regarded as the greatest spin bowler of all time. It has been almost half a decade since he retired from international cricket but there is yet to be any spin bowler to have come out of Sri Lanka, or indeed the world, who has been tipped to overtake the off-spin legend. He overtook Courtney Walsh as the highest Test wicket-taker of all time in 2004. His tally was 520 at the time and by the time he tipped his hat, he had collected 800 scalps in the longest format of the game. He also holds the records for most ODI wickets with 534.
An example of Muralidharan’s skill and accuracy can be seen in a video doing the rounds on Youtube. It was shot shortly after Murali retired from the international game and England spinner Graeme Swann is also featured. The two are trying to knock off a coin placed precariously on a glass that is in turn placed precariously on a stump. The catch is that they are supposed dislodge the coin and not let the glass fall or hit the wickets.
Swann exclaims that what they are trying to do is “physically impossible” before they do it. The duo make several attempts in which Muralidharan comes close. Then finally, the ball spins at the right angle and takes off the coin leaving the glass and the stump standing serenely in its wake. “Still the master, still the master,” says Graeme Swann.