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Murali: The Magician
Around the Academy:

Never before in the history of sport has one man's elbow been the centre of so much controversy.

But ignore the critics - Muttiah Muralitharan is a certified cricket legend. Official.

Although he's not about for the ICC Champions Trophy because of a shoulder injury, he's still one of the world's greatest bowlers.

Murali was born with a deformed elbow, which means he can't straighten his arm, no matter how hard he tries.

It's even been scientifically proven by some clever people in Perth, Australia.

Because of his deformity, Murali bowls differently to your average off-spinner.

Muttiah Muralitharan in action against England in Sri Lanka
Enough to give every batsman nightmares

Rather than use his fingers to generate the spin, he uses his entire body to get that extra "zip".

Just watch his face every time he delivers a ball, that's the kind of expression you'd expect to see on the face of a fast bowler tearing down the wicket at 90mph.

Most of Murali's work is done in the shoulders, which, because of the unusual angle of his elbows, are more flexible than most bowlers'.

Like his Test wicket-taking rival Shane Warne, Murali mixes up his deliveries to keep the batsmen second guessing, changing the flight, pace and spin almost every delivery.

And then there's his control - he's virtually impossible to smash out of the Sri Lankan attack because he has such amazing control over his line and length.

Recently Murali has developed a ball called the "doosra" which is the off-spinner's version of the googly.

But because of questions about his action when he delivers this ball, he has been asked not to bowl it in Test or one-day games by the ICC, the body which looks after world cricket.

Despite the doubts, Murali keeps on doing what he does so brilliantly, taking wickets and breaking records.



Six of the best!
Shane Warne
Sachin Tendulkar
Andrew Flintoff
Muttiah Muralitharan
Brian Lara
Steve Harmison

Muttiah Muralitharan factfile
Born: 17 April 1972
Birthplace: Kandy, Sri Lanka
Height: 5ft 6in
Teams: Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, Lancashire, Sri Lanka, Kent
Batting: Right-hand
Bowling: Right-arm off-spin
Best Test bowling: 9-51 v Zimbabwe, Kandy, 2001

Did you know?
Murali reached 400 Test wickets in just 72 matches - quicker than any other bowler in history.



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