ICC dismisses Muralitharan conspiracy claims

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:International Cricket Council (ICC) president Ehsan Mani has dismissed claims that Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan was being investigated to prevent him from overtaking Shane Warne in the race to become cricket's most successful bowler.

Sri Lanka's former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has hit out at match referee Chris Broad's decision to report the Sri Lankan off-spinner for a suspected illegal bowling action.

Ranatunga cliamed there was a conspiracy against Muralitharan, who is just six wickets short of retired West Indian paceman Courtney Walsh's record of 519 wickets.

"This is to totally discredit the achievements of a great player. Murali is chasing the world record with Shane Warne and the Australians and the English do not want one of our players getting there," he said.

Mani said, "I am not going to make any comment on the action of any bowler but what I can say is that the match officials are well within their rights to raise any concerns about any delivery from any bowler.

"The rules say it, the playing conditions demand it and every Test playing country has agreed to it. "Given this reality it is deeply disappointing to read claims from some quarters about bias.

"The truth of the matter is that the ICC has now put a system in place that, more than ever before, allows it to detect and address bowling actions that are potentially illegal.

"The issue of flawed actions has always been an emotion-laden topic and it is about time that all of us involved in the game adopt a more mature approach to this issue," Mani said.

Muralitharan was reported to the ICC after the third and final Test against Australia on Sunday by match-referee Chris Broad, a former England Test batsman.

Broad said the bowler's 'doosra', which turns away from the right-handers unlike his stock ball that comes in, needed more looking into. Muralitharan finished the series against Australia with 28 wickets to take his tally to 513.

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