Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Magic of Murali

"Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige". - This is how Michael Caine's character Cutter describes a magic trick in Christopher Nolan's brilliant film 'The Prestige'.
Muttiah Muralitharan has been giving a fairly good demonstration of what is said above over the past two decades. Murali's PLEDGE is the cricket ball in his hand, same for every other bowler on the planet. And then he begins his mesmerising bowling action, eyes bulging in concentration and focus.... His TURN is literally that... A lot of turn.... No one has turned a cricket ball more than him. And he has mixed his turn, with flight, pace, direction and a lot of smiles. And then comes his PRESTIGE - the crowning moment - when he gets his man - a wicket !
My favourite Murali, and for that matter Sri Lanka, performance is his 16 wicket haul against England at the Oval in 1998. In a match where Sanath Jayasuriya hit a sensational 213 and Aravinda De Silva a magnificient 152, it was ultimately Murali's magic which brought the Lankans that brilliant win. You can enjoy some of his wickets here .
And like, Alfred Borden, the question Murali has been asking the batsmen over the years has been a simple one: "Are you watching closely?" As it turns out today on his retirement from test cricket, 800 times, they were not.
[PS: This blog has been inspired by the brilliance of Murali, Christopher Nolan and this blog by Gradwolf where he reviews INCEPTION. A must read if you have seen the movie]

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