Murali~~s action is still suspect: Ex-Australian umpire

Published: Sunday, December 15, 2002, 18:57 [IST]
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Sydney: Most umpires believe Muthiah Muralitharan's bowling action is illegal but do not call the Sri Lankan for fear of losing their jobs, according to retired Australian Test umpire Ross Emerson. Cricketing bible Wisden named Muralitharan on Friday as the best ever Test bowler, ahead of New Zealand's Richard Hadlee, England's Syd Barnes and Australia's Shane Warne. But Emerson told the 'Sunday Telegraph' the bowling action of the 30-year-old Sri Lankan spinner, who is recovering from a hernia operation and could miss the current tri-series, had deteriorated. "Muralitharan's action has changed since 1995 - it's got worse - but he's not worried about it because who's going to call a bloke who has more than 400 (Test) wickets?" Emerson said. Emerson called Muralitharan, who has claimed 437 wickets in 78 Tests, in January 1999 when Sri Lanka played England at Adelaide Oval. "I still consider his action illegal, as do most umpires around the world, but they won't do anything about it because they're worried about their jobs," Emerson said. "Privately, all the top umpires say he throws but they've seen all the trouble that can happen if you call him, so they won't." Emerson and other Australian officials, Darrell Hair, Barry Jarman and Tony McQuillan all called Muralitharan for chucking during the 1990s. The International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's governing body, cleared Muralitharan after he was filmed with high-speed cameras. It was announced that he had a permanently bent arm, which gave the illusion of throwing. During the 1995 Boxing Day Melbourne Test, Hair called the off spinner seven times, while Jarman no-balled him during Sri Lanka's 1994-95 tour of New Zealand. Jarman, a former match referee, said, "I've never been asked to do a game involving Sri Lanka since." Hair on Saturday umpired his first Sri Lankan match since the 1995 Melbourne Test when the visitors faced Australia 'A' in Brisbane. He will oversee Tuesday's One-day match between Sri Lanka and England in Brisbane, but Murali won't be playing as he recovers from his operation.

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