July 23, 2010

Muttiah Muralidaran retired like a lion

muralitharan on top

Iconic spinner spent record 214 Tests and 1,711 days in number-one spot.

Sri Lanka’s iconic spinner Muttiah Muralidaran retired from Test cricket on Thursday after dominating the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowlers for the best part of his glittering 18-year career.

The 38-year-old champion off-spinner, who finished with 800 wickets from 133 Tests, bowed out in third position behind Dale Steyn of South Africa and Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif after climbing two spots in the latest rankings following his figures of 5-63 and 3-128 which set-up a 10-wicket victory for Sri Lanka in the first Test of the three-match series in Galle.

The Kandy-born spinner had first surged to the top of the bowling rankings in January 2002 after his match figures of 9-91 which not only paved the way for Sri Lanka to make a clean sweep of the three-Test series against Zimbabwe but also made him the quickest bowler to reach 400 Test wickets.

He went on to spend a record 214 Tests and 1,711 days in number-one position. Australia’s former Test fast bowler Glenn McGrath has the second best record, having enjoyed the coveted No.1 ranking for 174 Tests.

Within a year of making his Test debut Test against Australia at Colombo, Muralidaran broke into the top 20 when he jumped to 19th position in September 1993 at P.Sara Oval in Colombo against South Africa and then never dropped out. The closest he came to slipping out of the top 20 was in March 1997 against New Zealand in Dunedin when he was briefly in 20th position.

Muralidaran’s rating was consistently above 800 and often above 900 ratings points, an indicator of sustained and outstanding performances.

His tally of 920 ratings points in July 2007 during the home series against Bangladesh marked his peak as a bowler. It is the fourth highest rating achieved to date by a bowler after Sydney Barnes (932), George Lohmann (931) and Imran Khan (922).

While his average career rating was 770, he is also the only Sri Lanka bowler to achieve more than 800 ratings points. His former team-mate Chaminda Vaas peaked at 800 in 2005.

Meanwhile, Lasith Malinga has returned to the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test bowler after his man of the match performance in Galle. The fast bowler took 7-105 and has re-entered in 25th position.

The bowlers dropping in the latest rankings include Ishant Sharma 22nd (down by one place), Rangana Herath 31st (down by six places) and Pragyan Ojha 58th (down by nine places).

In the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen, India opener Gautam Gambhir, middle-order batsmen Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni have failed to retain their places.

Gambhir has slipped six places to 10th position, Laxman has fallen two places to 15th position, Dravid has dropped one place to 18th place while Dhoni has fallen four places to 40th spot.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has swapped places with his predecessor Mahela Jayawardena. India’s Virender Sehwag, who scored 109 and 31, has opened up a 14-point gap over second-placed Sangakkara.


Post a Comment