Muttaiah Muralidharan‘s announcement that the first Test against India later this month will be his last is very un-Indian, to say the least. Rare is the Indian cricketer who has the largeness of heart to zip up his kit when a record of his kind (he needs 8 more wickets to reach a career haul of 800) is hanging in the air.
Rarer still is the confidence that he will get those eight wickets in the two innings.
Murali’s retirement, coming as it does after his redoubtable contemporaries Australian legspin legend Shane Warne and Indian wrist spinner Anil Kumble have bid goodbye to the game, means that there will be one less reason to watch the game that is already wilting under the assault of the Twenty20 circus.
Nevertheless, it opens up a juicy longhop: which of the three is the greatest spinner the game has known? Murali with his world-record haul for a minnow? Warne with his artistry and theatrics, in tandem with a first-class crew? Or workman-like Kumble, pegging away in all forms of the game with success but without the turn?
And is Harbhajan Singh the only bowler likely to overtake Murali, as he seems to think?