'Mystery' to Take on Muralidharan Tomorrow

20 December 2011

Former New Zealand test batsman and Wellington City Councillor John Morrison will come out of retirement, albeit briefly, to face Muttiah Muralidharan - the world's greatest bowler - at Civic Square tomorrow.

Cr Morrison, aka 'Mystery', says he can pick Murali's 'doosra' ball and is confident he can hit the legendary bowler for six.

Muralidharan has taken 800 test wickets and was rated the greatest test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

Cricket Wellington invited Cr Morrison, who played 17 Tests and 18 One Day Internationals for the Black Caps between 1973 and 1982, to dust-off his bat and face Murali to help promote two upcoming Twenty20 cricket matches in the city where Murali will play for the Hell Wellington Firebirds.

Cr Morrison, the Council's Sports and Events Portfolio Leader, says Cricket Wellington needed a batsman of class who was capable of hitting the world's leading bowler and "I immediately came to mind."

While more known for his batting, Cr Morrison also bowled left arm spin, and his 'mystery' delivery became the stuff of legend.

He plans to have a rubdown at noon, a net practice at 12.15pm and face Murali at 12.30pm.

 "I think Civic square is a very suitable arena for me but I've asked the Council to take out some extra insurance to cover any broken windows," says Cr Morrison.

"I can pick his doosra (Murali's trick ball that spins in the opposite direction to his stock off-spin) so I'll be looking to hit it over cover for six.

"Depending on which end he comes in from, you can expect the ball to end up in Willis Street or in the harbour."

An artificial pitch will be laid in Civic Square for the event. There may be an opportunity for selected members of the public to face Murali.