Thatscricket - Wish your star
Published: Thursday, June 14, 2001, 22:12 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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New Delhi: Cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman believed Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Murlitharan was not a chucker and blamed Australian umpire Darrel Hair for starting a "distasteful" controversy, Bradman's publisher claimed on Thursday."Clearly, Murali does not throw the ball. For me, this was the worst example of umpiring that I have witnessed and against everything the game stands for," the late Aussie star wrote to his publisher Tom Thompson.Hair called off spinner Murlitharan for throwing during Sri Lanka's acrimonious tour of Australia in 1995-96, sparking off a bitter controversy that soured relations between the two sides.An angry Sri Lanka forced the International Cricket Council to remove Hair from its matches during the Limited Overs tournament in Kenya last year.Thompson, who published the last edition of Bradman's biography "Farewell to Cricket" and was known to correspond regularly with the legendary batsman from 1994 to 1998, released the text of the letter to the 'Times of India'."I found umpire Darrel Hair's calling of Murali so distasteful," Bradman wrote in the letter."It was technically impossible for umpire Hair to call Murali from the bowler's end even once. Why was his eye not on the foot-fall and crease (to judge overstepping). I believe Hair's action, in one over, took the development of world cricket back by 10 years."Bradman, who died in February this year aged 92, heaped praise on Murlitharan, saying he "shows perhaps the highest discipline of any spin bowler since the Second World War"."He holds all the guile of the trade ... he is the stuff of our greatest slow bowlers and for me Murali is one like (Bill) O'Reilly or (Shane) Warne who are game-breakers."Murali wants to bamboozle, to trick, through flight and change of pace."The Sri Lankan, 29, one of the game's great spinners with 317 wickets so far from 62 Tests at an average of 25.62, is one of the six recepients of the Bradman cap donated by the Bradman Trust in Australia.The other five cricketers to have received the cap are four Indians - captain Saurav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman and Harbhajan Singh - and West Indian star Brian Lara.