No end to tyranny of batsmen: Muralitharan II arrives

Published: Thursday, June 3, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:Cricket officials have begun eyeing a 17-year-old schoolboy who has the potential to replace Sri Lanka's spin wizard and top world Test wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan, it was reported.

Student Sameera Ranatunga, who hails from the same Kandy region where Muralitharan grew up, was being groomed by his school's cricket coach to follow in the footsteps of the great man and become a deadly off-spinner, the Colombo-based Daily Mirror newspaper said.

"The young off-spinner is showing much promise and turns the ball as much as Muttiah Muralitharan does by following a similar action," the newspaper said.

Ranatunga, no relation of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup winning captain Arjuna, is being guided by the same coach who spotted Muralitharan's talent as a schoolboy in Kandy, the paper said.

Muralitharan, 32, overtook West Indian Courtney Walsh's record tally of 519 during the recent tour of Zimbabwe and now has 527 Test wickets.

He has been at the centre of a controversy over his unorthodox bowling action, with the International Cricket Council (ICC) banning his 'doosra', the delivery that turns the other way from the normal off-break.

Muralitharan said recently he planned to continue till the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies before deciding on his future in the game.

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