As the World Cup approaches, Third Umpire will be selecting a ODI World 11, with one player featuring every day. We conclude with our number eleven, Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan.
How does one adequately describe the greatest off-spinner ever to play the game? A player who can rip through any batting line-up on any surface and who always manages to smile, despite the many accusations that have dogged his career.
With his amazing control and the ability to extract turn on any pitch, Muralitharan is a formidable opponent for even the greatest of batsmen. Add to this his experience and boundless enthusiasm and you have the ultimate spin bowler. Even if the pitches in the West Indies were the fast bowler's paradises of old he would emerge as one of the top players in the forthcoming World Cup, but given the slow, turning nature of current caribbean wickets he may well be unplayable.
A veteran of 287 ODIs, in which has amassed an unthinkable tally of 432 wickets at the incredible average of 23.07, Murali is already one of the all-time greats. If his Sri Lankan team-mates can continue their current excellent form it might just be they who claim their second World Cup. It would be fitting for the Kandy magician to hold aloft the World Cup, as he has done so much to entertain and delight cricket fans over the years and, one hopes, will continue to do so for many more.