Sir — Muttiah Muralitharan’s farewell match as a Test cricketer brought this brilliant off spinner’s career to an end (“Murali’s memorable swansong”, July 23). Fears had been expressed that the art of spin bowling would not survive this age of power and pace. But spinners found a champion in Muralitharan. He broke records, won matches and demonstrated that spin bowling is not simply a relic favoured by romantics, but a crucial and aggressive weapon. Muralitharan mastered his famous doosra — a delivery that added a dash of spice to this traditional art — after considerable practice. His skill and perseverance have fetched him 800 Test wickets. The biscuitmaker’s son from Kandy has beguiled and bewildered generations of batsmen and never let his country down. Popular with friends and foes alike, Muralitharan will go down in history as a giant of the game.
Subhayu Saha, Khagra, Murshidabad
Sir — Muttiah Muralitharan deserves praise for being the first cricketer to touch the 800-Test-wicket mark, that too in the last match of his career. There is no need to recount Muralitharan’s greatness. He has already cemented his place in record books and in the hearts of cricket-lovers all over the world.
Muralitharan had been dubbed a ‘chucker’ early in his career. Consequently, he was discriminated against in the international arena. Any other cricketer, with the possible exception of Sourav Ganguly, would have quit the game at that juncture. But Muralitharan faced his troubles with courage, and went on to dominate the cricketing world and achieve the impossible. His decision to retire immediately after the first Test at Galle — still eight wickets away from reaching the magic figure of 800 — was simply unbelievable. Muralitharan could have played it safe and retired after the completion of the current series. But he announced his decision prior to the first Test, seemingly without a care for the milestone. This bears testimony to his self-less nature. Fortune favours the brave, and Muralitharan has now been rewarded for his bold decision.
This generation of cricket-lovers is indeed fortunate to have followed the illustrious career of this gentleman cricketer. Thank you Murali for the entertainment you provided and for teaching us not to lose focus while facing adversities.
Kajal Chatterjee, Sodepur
Sir — Muttiah Muralitharan was a colossal figure in the game of cricket. At a time when players, especially bowlers, are struggling to cope with the demands of modern cricket, Muralitharan’s achievements are mind-boggling. The enormity of his achievement can be gauged from the fact that he got many more wickets than Anil Kumble despite playing lesser number of matches. It is true that Muralitharan was the premier spinner in his side, which lacked any other world-class bowler apart from Chaminda Vaas. Thus, the lion’s share of the opposition’s wickets went to these two bowlers.
Perhaps it is pertinent to mention that in this respect, Shane Warne’s achievements are more creditable. Warne was not only part of a great Australian side, but he also had to contend with other great bowlers such as Glenn Mcgrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee, to name just a few. Despite this, Warne ended up taking a phenomenal number of wickets.
But that should not in any way take the sheen off Muralitharan’s achievement. Considering the fact that the emphasis now is on shorter formats of the game — especially Twenty20 cricket — it is doubtful whether Muralitharan’s tally will ever be bettered.
Ambar Mallick, Calcutta
Sir — I would like to draw attention to the problems faced by the people of Jalpaiguri, which, though a district town, is neglected in comparison to neighbouring Siliguri. The people of Jalpaiguri, Haldibari and Mainaguri have to travel to Siliguri for various reasons, especially to avail of better medical treatment. But it is difficult to commute from Jalpaiguri to Siliguri. There is no bus or train that leaves for Siliguri before 5 am and returns to Jalpaiguri after 11 pm. The pitiable road conditions further aggravate the sufferings of the commuters.
I would like to request the higher authorities to improve communication links by introducing more buses and trains and address the concerns of those living in Jalpaiguri town.
Nitai Mukherjee, Jalpaiguri