Waugh lends support to Muralitharan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/M/Muralitharan1.jpg' class='caption'> Controversial offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan has found an ally in old foe Stephen Waugh in his latest brush with cricket administrators.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Controversial offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan has found an ally in old foe Stephen Waugh in his latest brush with cricket administrators. Muralitharan, who is vying with Australian legspinner Shane Warne for the distinction of being the most prolific Test wicket-taker of all time, was reported for chucking after taking 28 wickets in the recent 3-0 series loss to Australia in Sri Lanka. International Cricket Council match referee Chris Broad said he suspected that Muralitharan's "doosra" - his wrong 'un or ball that spins away from the right-handed batsman, was bowled with an illegal action. The ICC ordered Muralitharan to undergo rigorous testing and remedial work and the Sri Lanka cricket board appointed Bruce Elliott, a biomechanist at the University of West Australia, to analyse the "doosra" to determine if it's bowled with a legal action. The testing "will prove once and for all whether he is legal or illegal," Waugh, who retired as Australia's Test captain in January, told a business lunch on Wednesday. "I hope for the game's sake that they find he's OK because he's great to watch -- he is a unique type of bowler. "He makes Sri Lanka competitive in world cricket... he gets people talking about cricket. They are the sort of players you want in the game." Sri Lankan cricket officials told The Associated Press that they were yet to get a definite word on Muralitharan's bowling action from Elliott. An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "corrective steps" are being designed for Muralitharan, who is yet to be cleared after two rounds of testing on the "doosra". "A third test is being conducted and the result would be known by early next week," he said. Waugh said bowling rules specific to bending the elbow during the delivery arc needed to be simplified, clarified and enforced by the ICC to ensure no bowlers are discriminated against. "Someone came up with a stat saying if they imposed that rule right now 50 per cent of all bowlers would be called for chucking," he said. "So they need to change that rule or to eliminate it, or do something with it so that everyone just gets on with playing the game." Muralitharan has 513 Test wickets and he needs seven more to break retired West Indies paceman Courtney Walsh's world record of 519. Sri Lanka will play two Tests in Zimbabwe later this month. Muralitharan's career was almost derailed on a 1995-96 tour of Australia when umpires Darrell Hair and Ross Emerson called him for throwing. The ICC later determined that Muralitharan's regular bowling technique was legal after medical evidence proved that his slightly bent-arm action was the result of a physical abnormality of the elbow. (AP)

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