'Doosra tests must be held while playing'

Published: Sunday, April 25, 2004, 15:56 [IST]
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Sydney:Ricky Ponting says it would have been easy for Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan to bowl with a straighter arm than normal while being tested for throwing.

The Australian captain believes the International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to view footage of Muralitharan bowling in match conditions before making a proper assessment of his action when he delivers his controversial 'doosra'.

Muralitharan has been found to bend his arm twice the ICC-approved limit for his wrong'un, the doosra, but there have been calls for the governing body to double the limit to accommodate him.

The Sri Lankan, on the verge of becoming the greatest Test wicket-taker of all time, has continued bowling his contentious delivery in One-day games against Zimbabwe this week.

Ponting said that there was no guarantee Muralitharan bowled the same way during recent testing by biomechanics at the University of Western Australia as he did during a match.

"That's the thing with it -- if you look at the way they are doing that testing, there probably could be ways around it all the time," Ponting said in a radio interview in Sydney.

"I think they have to look at the actual video footage from when he's bowling in Test matches to get a real idea and understanding of what's going on. It's a little bit strange that they're talking about bending some of the rules again. I don't really understand how that works."

Ponting said Muralitharan, who he called "an absolutely sensational bowler," should tone down the doosra anyway.

"I actually mentioned to him after the recent series in Sri Lanka that I thought he bowled that delivery too much and it was actually becoming pretty easy for a lot of the batsmen to pick because we were seeing it so often," he said.

"He made comment to us that he thought the Australian team on that tour played him better than any other team has ever played him, including India and even his own players."

Muralitharan was advised by Sri Lankan officials prior to the current Zimbabwe tour to stop using the doosra until they had sought the advice of the ICC Technical Committee.

But Muralitharan ignored that advice in the opening One-day International, bowling the delivery on a number of occasions.

He cannot be reported again until the completion of the six-week stage-one ICC process for dealing with suspect actions, which ends after the five-match One-day series and mid-way through the first of two Tests.

Should he be reported again, he then risks a possible 12-month ban.

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