Muttiah Muralitharan is the world's best spinner. Born in Kandy, Sri Lanka, his career went through a period of turmoil in 1995 when he was called by umpire Darrel Hair for 'chucking'. It is interesting to note that he has been cleared by the ICC Panel for chucking and by a team of doctors who have proven that he cannot bend his arm. The Australian public, possibly unable to swallow that any bowler can bowl better than their beloved Shane Warne, and remain polite, humble and down to earth, harrassed him during both the 1995 and 1997 tours and taunted him with racist remarks. That has left Murali undaunted and today he is well on his way to becoming the highest wicket taker in the world, a record led by Courtney Walsh of the West Indies.

Murali as he is popularly known was born on 17 April, 1972. He began his career playing for the Tamil Union Club but has since played for the English county side of Lancashire. He made his Test debut against Australia at Colombo in 1992-93. He made his One day International debut against India at Colombo in 1993-94. He was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1999. Currently in 76 tests he has taken 430 wickets.

Just a short update. Murali has now become the highest wicket taker in Test cricket by breaking Courtney Walsh's record of 519 Test wickets. He has Australia's Shane Warne hot on his heels though. However, more controversy has dogged him since with the ICC banning his delivery the 'doosra' on the grounds that he bends his arm more than the permissible limit. Dr Bruce Elliot, of the University of Western Australia, who conducted the tests on Murali has argued that the International Cricket Committee might need to re-think the limits it sets on bowlers, arguing that they are very arbitrary. Murali also says that he has been bowling the doosra for five years now, and this controversy has erupted just because he is nearing Walsh's record. The matter is yet to be sorted and threatens to erupt into a political row between Australia and Sri Lanka with even the Prime Ministers of the two countries, stepping into the fray.

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