BCCSL defends Muralitharan, slams Australian media

Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2002, 22:50 [IST]
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Colombo: Sri Lanka's national cricket governing body on Wednesday dismissed Australian media criticism of star off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

Hemaka Amarasuriya, chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL), slammed the media for highlighting the views of former Australian umpires Ros Emerson and Colin Egar on Muralitharan's bowling action. "It defies belief that the opinions of these two gentlemen, which have been accepted as being in error, continue to make headlines in the context of articles which seem to suggest there is some credibility to their quite erronoeus views," Amarasuriya said. In a letter published in the state run 'Daily News', Amarasuriya said the legendary Australian batsman Sir Donald Bradman had commended Muralitharan as the most disciplined spinner since World War II. Last week, Bradman and Muralitharan were named Wisden's best batsman and bowler, respectively, in a top-10 listing of all time best players. "Wisden had chosen Muralitharan as its top bowler and in doing so undeniably would have thoroughly examined all aspects of the game and his meritorious work," Amarasuriya said. Umpire Ros Emerson in 1999 became the second Aussie umpire to call Muralitharan for suspected throwing. His call led to a near walk out by the Sri Lankans in a triangular series One-day game against England at the Adelaide Oval in January 1999. Emerson's colleague, Darrell Hair, had called the off spinner during the Boxing Day Test of 1995 at Melbourne. The International Cricket Council (ICC) cleared Muralitharan of his action and experts said that a slight deformity in the bowler's wrist gave the impression that he was throwing the ball at the point of delivery. Muralitharan is recovering from a hernia operation and missed Sri Lanka's triangular opener against England on Tuesday. An official protest from the Sri Lankans led to Hair being removed from officiating in any of Sri Lanka's World Cup games in England in 1999.

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