ICC to inspect bowlers~~ suspect actions

Published: Friday, December 19, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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London:World cricket's governing body said it would look into the vexed question of bowlers' actions admist renewed claims that some Test players are "chuckers".

Recently attention has again focused on Sri Lanka's prolific wicket-taking off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, whose action has been investigated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the past.

He was allegedly branded a "cheat" by former England captain Nasser Hussain during the ongoing Test series between the two countries.

Meanwhile, England quick James Kirtley, who had to remodel his action after an ICC investigation, has also had the legality of his bowling brought into question.

However, ICC general manager David Richardson appeared especially concerned with accusations against the slow men.

"Let's compare what Shane Warne does with his elbow to Saqlain (Mushtaq) and all other spinners and try and find out the facts," he told Sky Sports.

"Then we're in a better position to advise umpires as to what they need to watch out for."

He said scientific research would help ease the burden on umpires who under cricket's Laws can no-ball any bowler they think has delivered the ball illegally at any stage during a match.

Unlike baseball, where a pitcher can throw the ball, a bowler in cricket is not allowed to straighten his elbow in the act of delivering the ball.

At present the ICC has a reporting process in place to look at suspect actions and has asked umpires not to call bowlers for throwing during a Test match in order to prevent controversial incidents.

"You're playing with bowlers' careers so you have to be correct before you right someone off as a chucker," Richardson said. "We're not going to ask umpires to make a decision. We're saying, 'If you suspect something is wrong, report it and we'll take it from there."

Muralitharan, who has 481 Test wickets to his name and whose latest leg-spin style delivery has caused much comment, is sometimes wrongly described as a bowler who had his action "cleared" by the ICC.

But Richardson stressed a lifetime endorsement was impossible as actions could alter over the course of a player's career.

"Muralitharan went before a bowling review group and they decided on the evidence available they couldn't tell whether he was straightening his arm or not. That's not to say he is cleared forever and a day. What (a bowling review is) saying is an action up to that point is OK or not OK. You could go out the next day and be called again."

The ICC intend to being their general bowling review sometime in 2004.

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