Murali suffers hernia, doubtful for Aussie ODI series

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2002, 16:22 [IST]
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Sydney: Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan is a doubt for next month's triangular One-day cricket series in Australia after being diagnosed with a hernia. Sri Lanka's team management is considering booking the spin wizard in for surgery to ensure he's fit for next year's World Cup campaign in southern Africa. His absence would be a significant loss for the series with Australia and England, although it would avert any problems when Australian umpire Darrell Hair returns to umpiring Sri Lankan matches next month. Hair triggered a stormy Sri Lankan reaction when he no balled Muralitharan seven times in the 1995 'Boxing Day' Test in Melbourne. Muralitharan, who has taken 433 Test wickets at 23.36, first felt the hernia problem during the first Test defeat by South Africa in Johannesburg last week, Sri Lankan team physio Alex Kontouri said. He is not in pain and is expected to play the second Test despite having stomach swelling. Any surgery would be pre-emptive but would rule Muralitharan out of the One-day series in South Africa and the series in Australia. "We are seeking specialist advice as to the chances of the problem getting worse. He is free of pain at the moment and he is fine to play in the Test but his lower abdomen is quite swollen," Kontouri said. "If the World Cup was not coming up we probably wouldn't consider surgery because it is difficult to tell when or whether the hernia would develop into a problem. "If the medical opinion is that there is a high chance of it getting worse then he will have surgery." Hair is scheduled to stand in Sri Lanka's warm-up game against Australia 'A' in Brisbane on December 14 and also its first tri series match against England, also at the Gabba, on December 17. Hair has not officiated in Sri Lanka's matches since that controversial summer seven years ago when Australian colleague Ross Emerson also no balled Murali. The matter was referred to the International Cricket Council and although Muralitharan was cleared of throwing, it has simmered ever since.

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