Warne is on fire after Murali~~s record: coach

Published: Monday, May 10, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Brisbane:Muttiah Muralitharan's world record has fired up Australian Shane Warne to seize it off him, Australian cricket coach John Buchanan said in Brisbane.

The Sri Lankan off-spinner set a new world record of 521 Test wickets last week against Zimbabwe in Harare to break the previous mark of 519 set by West Indian paceman Courtney Walsh.

Buchanan said on Monday that he expected Murali's record had further "fuelled the fires" of Warne, currently playing in England with Hampshire.

"He's an exciting player as we've seen in the recent Sri Lankan-Australia series," Buchanan said of Murali. "The battle between he and Shane Warne and our batsmen is exhilarating stuff.

"Once our series (in Zimbabwe) is finished hopefully there will be another head-to-head in Darwin and Cairns (in July)."

Buchanan, who has supported Murali's suspect bowling action in the past, defended the rubber-wristed bowler's right to use the 'doosra' delivery in a six-week non-reporting period.

The delivery, which turns away from right-handed batsmen, was scientifically deemed a throw last month after tests in Perth where it was found he straightened his bent arm by 10 degrees.

That is twice the limit tolerated for spinners under International Cricket Council (ICC) by-laws governing throwing.

"He's a class bowler and class bowlers should be able to bowl how they see fit," Buchanan said during a three-day Australian preparation camp for the Zimbabwe tour.

"The ICC have cleared him from any suspect action. Obviously they have reviewed him recently but that's been more of a grease and oil change more then anything else.

Buchanan said the Australian side, to play two Tests and three One-day Internationals, would conduct their four-week tour with a clear conscience despite the fragile political climate in Zimbabwe.

Leg-spinner Stuart MacGill did not make himself available on moral grounds for the tour and senior batsman Darren Lehmann has admitted the Australian players have concerns with touring.

But Buchanan played down the concerns. "I wouldn't think there is any concern," Buchanan said.

"I'm sure every player and all of us think about the issues and have come to their own conclusions, but in the end we're invited there as cricketers."

The 10 home-based members of the Australian Test team leave on Thursday for Zimbabwe where they will meet up with Warne, Lehmann and Michael Kasprowicz, who will travel from England where they are playing County cricket.

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