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Others are guilty of bent-arm: Murali

By Greg Buckle
November 12, 2004 12:25 IST
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Muttiah Muralitharan insists he is not the only leading bowler with a suspect action, adding others, including Australia's Glenn McGrath, bent their arms beyond the limit allowed under current regulations.

"Some bowlers from Australia, McGrath and everybody, they are all doing about 12, 13 (degrees)," the Sri Lankan off spinner said in a Melbourne radio interview on Friday.

"You can't be accusing me only. I am not the only one flexing. Ninety nine percent of bowlers are flexing."

Muralitharan's "doosra", a leg spinner bowled from the front of the hand, was outlawed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) last May after a report concluded the Sri Lankan bent his arm during delivery and so threw the ball.

At present, spinners are permitted five degrees, medium pacers 7.5 and fast bowlers 10. Muralitharan's doosra was initially measured at around 14 degrees.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the ICC said a bowling committee had recommended that all bowlers be allowed to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting, leg spinner Shane Warne and ex-skipper Allan Border all expressed reservations about the proposed rule change.

The recommendation will be considered in February next year by the ICC's 10 test-playing nations.

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Local newspapers reacted strongly to the issue on Friday, with The Australian running a main sports headline saying: "A chucking disgrace."

The paper's cricket writer Malcolm Conn said of the proposed rule change: "Throwing is a big enough blight on the game at the moment without institutionalising it."

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Peter Roebuck praised the ICC report.

"At last, offenders will be assisted and not merely thrown out of the game. Only the shamelessly sentimental will reject the report," he said.

Muralitharan has 532 test wickets, nine behind world record holder Warne. The Sri Lankan has twice been called for throwing in Australia.

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Greg Buckle
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