Sunday, July 15, 2007

Muralitharan, 700 and counting - The magician in pictures

The master, amazingly, seems to be getting better by the day

When Muttiah Muralitharan has previously passed important milestones there have been firecrackers and presentations, even parades. Here, though, in his home town and in front of his adoring mother, Lakshmi, his greatest fan, scalping his 700th wicket was greeted with congratulatory backslaps and high fives from team-mates, a standing ovation from the small grandstand and a brief press conference in a makeshift media centre doubling up as a tea room for dignitaries.

On the surface, at least, it was a strangely low-key response to an amazing achievement. But, on deeper level, that is hardly surprising: people have become so used to Murali's phenomenal feats that passing 700 is just a passing milestone in a journey that will soon enter unchartered territory. As he said afterwards: "It is a big achievement, but I anyway knew I was going to get 700 wickets. The challenge now is whether I can get 1000 test wickets before I retire."

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