Peter Taylor wants ICC to reject Murali appeal

Published: Thursday, June 10, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Former Australian Test off-spinner Peter Taylor has warned the International Cricket Council (ICC) to rebuff a Sri Lankan appeal for rule changes allowing Muttiah Muralitharan to bowl his outlawed 'doosra' delivery.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to change laws and increase the tolerance limit for the straightening of bent-arm deliveries to 15 degrees.

Taylor sees such a change as allowing the world record-taking spinner to bowl his controversial off-spinning wrong'un that was recently tested at 14 degrees before he reduced it to 10 degrees under remediation at the University of Western Australia.

Taylor, also a former Australian selector, is unhappy at the process of reporting suspect bowlers who were then tested in laboratory conditions, raising doubts about the authenticity of the tested action.

He believed a return to the old rule, which left the umpires to call so-called "chuckers" for no-balling, would cleanse cricket of its biggest problem.

"It's going from one disaster to the other," Taylor said on Thursday of the SLC's request.

"I don't like that whole methodology to get an academic to assess a bloke in a laboratory situation.

"I know that he would be a good enough bowler to bowl for two weeks without bending his arm.

"It's what happens in the game that matters, not what happens in a laboratory in Western Australia.

"I just think it's an excuse to let a bloke who's very marginal keep playing. Under the old rule he wouldn't be playing."

The current tolerance limit for spinners is set at five degrees, while it is 7.5 for medium-pacers and 10 for pacemen and is tested by bio-mechanics experts.

SLC president Mohan de Silva said his Board had the support of six other countries in calling for a review of the tolerance levels.

"We are not sure there should be one limit for a pace bowler and another for a spinner," he said.

"A pace bowler can deliver a slow ball and a spinner can deliver a fast ball."

Taylor, although not wanting to criticise Murali, whose action he considers illegal, said it was crucial for the game's future that law-makers took a hard-line, cut-and-dried stance.

"There's been analysis ad-nauseam about Murali for years and they're still all talking about it," he said.

"It's a shame because people will always look at him and question whether he should be put up there with the game's other leading bowlers who are legal.

"I feel sorry for him that the administrators haven't handled it better."

Murali, who has taken a world record 527 wickets in 90 Tests, has indicated he could skip the Australian tour after Australian Prime Minister John Howard agreed last month with an interviewer who labelled him a "chucker".

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