M & M - gives cricket a new meaning
Through the years, modern political transformation there have been certain individuals who have swum against the set pattern of currents and cut their own niches to make an indelible impression in the history of a given society or mankind as a whole.

For instance France’s Napoleon Bonaparte, (1769 – 1821) later known as Napoleon I, was a French military and political leader who had a significant impact on the history of Europe. He was a general during the French Revolution. In 1799, Napoleon staged a coup d'état and installed himself as First Consul; five years later he crowned himself Emperor of the French and the rest is common history.

In Sri Lanka former President Ranasinghe Premadasa came from very insignificant beginnings, but, the impression he made in the Lankan political arena has now become common folklore.
Ajantha Mendis

In the present context – In America a Black president ruling that most powerful nation in the World would not even have been the topic of a bar stool argument in a black ghetto a quarter of a century ago. But, Barak Obama a lawyer from Kenyan origin has proved that those misnomers and other general theories on who rules the world are total fallacies.

The above political commentary lends credence that at times history comes out with certain individuals and places them at the right place at the right time against the common belief of a majority of people.
Just over a year ago Muttiah Muralitharan was Sri Lanka’s version of a Trojan horse against the rest of a the World and he alone turned the entire cricketing globe on its head while fighting tooth and nail against the disbelievers that a man from a tiny island could make it to the top.

The thirty-six-year-old off spinner who made his first appearance against the Australians in 1992 gradually took control of the situation till he became the undisputed champion in the bowling arena in Test cricket. His tally of 756 plus wickets may not be overhauled in the foreseen future, especially when one looks at the cricketing calendar a top level cricketer faces these days. Even in ODIs his 490 wickets is awesome and that too may count on till the year 2011.

Nonetheless while Muralitharan was forging ahead with his exploits, there was a notable vacuum in the Lankan arsenal. Through Murali`s decade and half exercise there were spinners tailored on board to go tandem with him, but the pair never clicked off. Always it was Murali the lone fish in the well.
Then suddenly a year ago Ajantha Mendis was drafted into the Army from nowhere, and thus the trouble to the batsmen facing up to him began.

There is a nice little background story about Ajantha. Once he made it to the national squad he was still a novice but, his deeds compelled selectors to take him to the West Indies especially on a tour without injured Muralitharan.

Generally a player with a little exposure is not given the major games and at times come back without even a single outing. That is common in international cricket. Taken on tour and while at practices he was troubling the entire top guns in the Lankan line-up. Then a tour selector took the bold decision and suggested that Ajantha should be tried out and the other rather reluctantly agreed and the rest is history.
Muttiah Muralitharan

Now in three Test matches Mendis had taken 26 wickets and in ODIs with 48 wickets in only 19 outings he is closing in on a World record.

More than the youngster’s individual exploits, what is more important is that his advent into the national grid has given a new twist to the Lankan cricketing cause. Now Muralitharan is no more alone.
They together, bamboozled the much venerated Indian batting line-up, thus prompting the retirement of a part of the Indian-fab-five.

Now any one can see even the aging Muralitharan is bowling with new vigour. Now Muralitharan has paired off with Mendis in thirteen ODIs and taken 26 wickets. Prior to that in the same number of matches he bagged only 16 wickets. The difference shows.Mendis is almost certain of not making it to Bangladesh for the two tests and the tri-series through injury. Then with bad management and sparse cricket Sri Lanka may limp onto the 2011 World Cup and few other engagements in between. Still whenever these two bowlers get together the opposing batsmen are sure to find a new meaning to the word bewilderment.

Even now that it has been proved that a spin duo is always more useful than a single unit, are we going to live with the status quo? After the Next World Cup Muralitharan then closing up to his forties may decide to pack up his boots.

A cricket insider described the present duo as a unique set. From one end Muralitharan uses his experience, guile and variety to fox the opposition and mostly bowls outside the wickets as a result of his prodigious turn.

At the other end Mendis bowls wicket to wicket with very little movement, but with a different blend in each delivery.

The result is a lethal bowling cocktail hard to understand.

Then once again are we going to let Mendis go his way alone? Even by 2011 Ajantha Mendis will be a relatively new bowler besides his tremendous talent.

According to news reaching us the two bowling camps at the SLC – spin and seam are not functioning as efficiently in the way it did under Ruwan Kalpage and Champaka Ramanayake.

The Mumbai setback will soon be over and cricket in the sub-continent will once again be in the driving seat. Now cricket is a multi-million dollar business and it is the cricketer who has to make all the new dollars that the management wastes through short-sighted bad decisions.

At least now look to the future. The date has not passed as yet like for many more others. Once the flame is burnt out the resurrection will not be easy. Even now please look for beyond 2011.

In short what history has produced sporadically, the Lankans have done in quite quick succession. Both bowlers are unique, mysterious and one in a million.

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