SLC thank ICC for clearing Murali of controversy

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:Sri Lanka's cricket governing body welcomed the new bowling rules of the International Cricket Council (ICC), saying the decision will finally end the controversy over Muttiah Muralitharan's action.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Mohan de Silva thanked the ICC for expediting investigations and making new rules that will comfortably accommodate the star spinner's bowling action which had been called into question.

"While thanking the ICC, we also feel sorry for Muralitharan because he had been put through lot of humiliation, trauma and pain of mind," de Silva said on Thursday. "We are happy the ICC has expedited the matter at our request.

"Finally all our efforts have been recognised by the ICC. We always maintained that Muralitharan will be able to bowl the 'doosra' (the delivery that turns away from the normal off-break).

"He will now be able to use all the weapons in his armoury."

Muralitharan is currently en route to Australia to consult his doctors after undergoing surgery on his bowling shoulder in August.

"We hope he will be able to play in the New Zealand series starting next month," de Silva said. "But, first the doctors must give the green light and he must start bowling again."

An ICC committee made up of former Test players and chaired by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, on Wednesday recommended a new rule allowing bowlers to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

The earlier rule varied the amount of straightening allowed depending on the type of bowling. Spinners were restricted to five degrees, medium pacers to seven-and-a-half degrees and fast bowlers to 10 degrees.

Under the proposed new ruling, to be ratified by the chief executives of the 10 Test-playing nations at their meeting in Melbourne in February, almost all modern bowling actions would be legal.

This would allow Muralitharan, who is currently injured, to resume bowling his feared 'doosra'.

Tests showed that the Sri Lankan's elbow straightened by 14 degrees, nine degrees more than the current limit for spinners, when bowling this delivery.

The 32-year-old was Test cricket's most successful bowler with 532 wickets till Australian Shane Warne overtook him on the recent tour of India and took his tally to 541.

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