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When Muralitharan’s gesture left Mohammad Ashraful in tears

A throwback to the sportsmanship spirit shown by Murali towards Ashraful.

Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan. (Photo Source: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Cricket is known to be a gentleman’s game as it is one sport where stories of benevolence are in common when it comes to sportsmanship. The cricketers go into the middle and fiercely contest with their opponents only to make their respective teams win. But they don’t forget to show their respect to the cricketer who scores a century or pick a five-wicket haul. The scenes of players shaking the hands of the batsman after scoring a ton are very common. But one such emotional incident happened with Mohammad Ashraful was left in tears by the gesture shown towards him by Muttiah Muralitharan.

Murali bamboozled many great batsmen with his crafty off-spin bowling and is currently enjoying his post-retirement life in Sri Lanka. Ashraful, on the other hand, was found guilty in the match-fixing during the T20 tournament in Bangladesh which was names as ‘Bangladesh Premier League’. However, both shared an emotional moment when they were at the peak of their careers which is even remembered after a long time.

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Rolling back to 2008

Sri Lanka had toured Bangladesh back in 2008 when the latter were struggling in the longest format of the game. Muralitharan was spitting venom with his every delivery on the turning surfaces in the sub-continent. The team from island nation had piled on the runs on the hosts and they were set an improbable target of 521 runs to chase. However, another defeat was staring in front of Ashraful led side in red-ball cricket.

While every Bangladeshi batsman struggled to survive Muralitharan’s surgical attacks with the ball, Ashraful kept defying his unplayable off-spinners. He waged a wilful, lone battle and ended scoring a spectacularly mind-blowing century in the match. He displayed amazing technique, sound selection of shots and precision play against Muralitharan, making his knock an immaculate and memorable one. Despite his best efforts, Ashraful could only delay Sri Lanka’s victory as they were bowled out for a spirited total of 413 runs.

Murali finished the match with a heroic 12 wickets and was deservedly adjudged Man of the Match. But when he was handed over the award, the legendary off-spinner started walking towards bemused Ashraful which surprised everyone. He gave away his award to the youngster and praised him for his herculean efforts. He hugged him and said, “You played brilliantly..Very few players in the world play me with the ease you have played.You are a great batsman and you are my man of the match and truly deserve this award.”

The whole stadium went into raptures and gave a standing ovation in honour of the sportsmanship spirit displayed by Muralitharan as Ashraful was left in tears of joy after such a beautiful gesture.

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