Muttiah Muralitharan gave me more sleepless nights than anyone: Justin Langer

Muttiah Muralitharan gave me more sleepless nights than anyone: Justin Langer

It can be noticed that it is not just Langer, but many veterans have singled out the Sri Lankan spin wizard as their nightmare.

Justin Langer
Justin Langer. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

No matter how legendary a bowler or batsman you are, there will always be that one opponent that will intimidate you. And every cricketer has one such opponent in their career.

Legendary Test opener Justin Langer, throughout his career, faced some of the fiercest pacers in cricket history, but the Western Australia coach revealed the name of the bowler he was the most scared of. Langer, who played 105 Tests between 1993 and 2007, singled out off-spinner Muthiah Muralidaran, who took 800 wickets through his Test career, as the man who he found tough to face.

“I’d say Muralidaran from Sri Lanka,” Langer told TABradio. “That might surprise some, being a spinner, but he gave me more sleepless nights than anyone.

“He had this really unusual action – which is very well-documented but it was like a magician; it came out of his hand, and my mind knew he was bowling off-spinners but because of the way he released the ball it looked like he was bowling leg-spinners.

He further went on to say to Muralitharan had become his nightmare, because he was just so accurate.

“It was an absolute nightmare to be honest; he was so accurate, you couldn’t score off him, he’d spin it a mile and he was also an unbelievable competitor.”

Langer played eight Tests against Muralitharan’s team Sri Lanka and averaged 35.85 against them. Interestingly, Muralitharan featured in six of those matches but managed to remove the Australian only twice – two fewer times than Daniel Vettori, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble.

Langer was benched for the start of the 2001 Ashes but made a comeback for the final Test series at the top of the order and forged Australia’s best first-wicket combination with Matthew Hayden.

It can be noticed that it is not just Langer, but many veterans have singled out the Sri Lankan spin wizard as their nightmare.