Michael Roberts, 26 April 2010
Gunasekara, Wijesinghe, Dhillon, Wijesuriya, Foster. These are five names that should be etched into the commemorative epitaph marking the third stage of the saga around Muttiah Muralitharan.
Mandheep Dhillon Muralitharan, best known as “Murali,” has been a cricketing-weapon extraordinary for some time and, as such, is a national icon in Sri Lanka. His survival in the frontlines of cricket has faced three major challenges. In effect, he has been subject to “triple jeopardy” in the ‘courts of cricket’, something unprecedented in international law.
The first massive effort to get rid of him on charges of being an illegal “chucker’ was in 1995-96; while the second was in early 1998 Oval (see especially Whimpress 2006: 305-13 for detailed accounts). Both were Australian-led. On both occasions the Sri Lankan authorities (led by Dharmadasa and Sumathipala respectively) stood firm; while Arjuna Ranatunga stood out on the second occasion because the resistance was played out in front of a huge crowd at Adelaide (among them this author).
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