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Legendary Sri Lankan Spin Wizard Muttiah Muralitharan’s Inspiring Biopic ‘800’


By: Mahadev Desai

The living cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan, is regarded as the greatest off -spin bowler in Test history. Sri Lankan Murali has taken 800 test wickets and more than 530 ODI wickets! He has taken more wickets in international cricket than any other bowler. He was part of the Sri Lanka Team that won the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup. In 2017, Murali, became the only Sri Lankan to be included into the ICC Hall of Fame. In his illustrious career, he has played in 133Test matches, and many more matches in other countries and formats as well, such as; for Counties in England; teams in Australia, India, etc.

Murali was (born April 17, 1972, Kandy, Sri Lanka) in a close knit and united family. While in College, his coach advised him to bowl off-spin. When 20, he made his test debut against Australia, in 1992 and took two wickets.

In the following year, while playing against England in Sri Lanka, his bowling action raised concerns. But tests of his action and physiology of his right arm showed that his bowling was not illegal. But again in 1995, two or three Australian umpires called him for ‘chucking’. He was charged again in Australia after four years. Australian cricket fans also heckled him. But later, after biomedical testing on four occasions, ICC revised the rules and allowed his unorthodox action. In addition to his off-breaks, he also bowls ‘doosra’ which turns from leg to off, and baffles the batsman!

In December, 2007, he overtook Shane Warne’s record of 708 Test wickets and in February 2009, he broke Wasim Akram’s 502 ODI wickets record.

Murali is modest, cheerful, approachable and big hearted. He got married in March, 2005 and the couple have a son, born in January 2006. Former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to the 1996 Cricket World Cup victory; is one of his close friends and his mentor.

He retired from test cricket in 2010 after registering his 800 and final wicket on 22nd July, 2010 from his final ball in his last match. He is now a cricket coach. He also supports a number of charities. Murali is co-founder of the charitable Org. ‘Foundation of Goodness’ He played a big role in humanitarian services to all those affected during the 2004 Indian ocean earthquake which struck Sri Lanka. He is also one of the Brand Ambassadors for the Presidential Task Force to combat kidney disease. Murali is the first wrist-spinning off break bowler in the history of cricket. He has received many awards and accolades for his highly impressive accomplishments. On 3 December 2007, when he became Test cricket's leading Test wicket-taker, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) announced it had unveiled his portrait at Lord's.

Murali’s biopic ‘800’ will be screened in cinemas on October 6,2023. ‘800’ will be in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. It chronicles Murali’s turbulent life journey amidst a long 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka; the ‘illegal bowling action’ controversy he faced; and other challenges in his life.

The spin wizard, with grit and determination, overcomes the daunting challenges and rises to be the top spin bowler in cricket history.

' Oct-07-2023