Howard distances from Murli row

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> John Howard has denied that his description of Muttiah Muralitharan as a chucker, led to the spinner's decision to snub a Test tour of Australia.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Australian Prime Minister John Howard today denied that his description of Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan as a "chucker", led to the champion spinner's decision to snub a Test tour of Australia. The 32-year-old Muralitharan announced on Tuesday, that he would not join the Australian tour starting later this month for personal reasons. His decision led to a lot of criticism in Australia over his bowling action. The Sri Lankan legendry spin bowler was labeled a chucker, after his "doosra" was declared illegal early this year. Muralitharan, who has a world record with 527 Test wickets to his credit, said in a statement earlier that he had been defamed, pilloried and severely criticized by the world's cricket media. (AFP)

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