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Murali hints at dumping ~~doosra~~

Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Colombo:Test cricket's bowling record-holder Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka has hinted he will drop the controversial 'doosra' delivery from his armoury after it was deemed illegal by the sport's world governing body.

"The 'doosra' has always been at the back of my mind," Muralitharan was quoted as saying in the Colombo-based Daily News on Wednesday in perhaps his first public statement on the controversial delivery.

"People have questioned me about it. I have done all the tests that are required and the reports have gone to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"At the end of the day what matters is what the report, the expert, my cricket board and the ICC says."

Sri Lankan cricket authorities on Wednesday confirmed they had asked the off-spinner not to bowl the 'doosra', a delivery which spins away from the right-handers instead of coming into them like a normal off-break.

"We have advised Muralitharan not to bowl the 'doosra'. We had also informed the team manager before he played in Zimbabwe," said a Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official.

The spinner, however, did bowl the 'doosra' in the opening Test against Zimbabwe at Harare where he took eight wickets to break retired West Indies fast bowler Courtney Walsh's world record of 519 Test wickets.

But Muralitharan, with 521 wickets in 89 Tests, is unlikely to continue with the controversial delivery in Friday's second Test at Bulawayo following an ICC statement on Tuesday that it supported the SLC's decision to tell the bowler not to bowl the 'doosra' delivery.

Muralitharan was reported for a suspect bowling action by English match-referee Chris Broad during the third and final Test against Ricky Ponting's Australians at Colombo in March.

He was then sent to Australia to work on his action with a team of experts who found the Sri Lankan straighten his arm by 10 degrees, which was five degrees more than what is permitted under ICC regulations.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed on Tuesday warned that Muralitharan could face a 12-month ban if he persisted with the 'doosra'.

"The report forwarded by Sri Lanka Cricket proves that the degree of straightening is well outside the ICC's specified levels of tolerance," said Speed.

Muralitharan is currently within the six-week stage-one phase of the ICC's bowling review process after being reported by Broad.

"If his action does not conform to the laws of cricket, no second report can be made until this six-week period is completed. This period expires at midnight on Thursday, May 13, 2004," Speed said.

"Should the bowler go against the wishes of his Board, bowl this delivery and subsequently be reported within 12 months of the initial report, the issue would progress to Stage-Two of the ICC's process for dealing with bowlers with illegal bowling actions.

"This would result in this delivery being scrutinized by the ICC's own Bowling Review Group which has the power to impose a ban of 12 months on the bowler if his action is deemed illegal."

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