Muttiah Muralitharan (දෙමළ: முத்தையா முரளிதரன், born 17 April 1972 in Kandy, Sri Lanka), often referred to as Murali, is a Sri Lankan cricketer who was rated the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack in 2002.
Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker in both Test cricket and in One Day Internationals (ODIs). He took the wicket of Gautham Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo, to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 502 wickets. Muralitharan became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when overtook the previous record-holder Shane Warne on 3 December 2007 in longer version of the game. Muralitharan had previously held the record when he surpassed Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets in 2004. But he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was then overtaken by Warne.
Averaging over six wickets per Test, Muralitharan is one of the most successful bowlers in the game and the greatest player for Sri Lanka. He plays domestic cricket for the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, and county cricket for Lancashire as an overseas player.
Muralitharan's career has been beset with controversy; his bowling action called into question on a number of occasions by umpires and sections of the cricket community. After biomechanical analysis in non-match conditions, Muralitharan's action was cleared by the International Cricket Council, first in 1996 and again in 1999. The legality of his doosra was first called into question in 2004. This delivery was found to exceed the ICC elbow extension limit by nine degrees, five degrees being the limit for spinners at that time. Based on official studies into bowling actions, the International Cricket Council revised the elbow flexion limits applying to all bowlers in 2005. Muralitharan's doosra falls within the revised limits.
Muralitharan was left out of the one-day touring squad to West Indies in early 2008, leading to speculation that he may be focusing on Test cricket in the future whilst Sri Lanka built a younger squad for One Day Internationals.