Yardley backs Murali over new ICC chucking laws

Published: Friday, November 12, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Former Sri Lankan Test coach Bruce Yardley said he felt vindicated by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) proposed changes to cricket's chucking law.

Former Australian off-spinner Yardley, who first encouraged Muttiah Muralitharan to bowl his "doosra", was Sri Lankan national coach in 1997-98, and has always been adamant that Murali was not a chucker.

"Now I feel vindicated and I'm very happy for Murali," Yardley said. "I always believed he was unfairly treated. I believed if they were going to target him, they had to target just about everyone else."

Yardley, who was himself called for chucking by Jamaican umpire Douglas Sang Hue in 1978, agreed with the ICC's finding that almost all bowlers have bent arms at some stage in their delivery.

"I've always believed that you can't bowl a cricket ball with a dead straight arm. You have to have some degree of flexion."

He said he had seen slow-motion replays of bowlers, including New Zealander Richard Hadlee and Australian Glenn McGrath, and at times thought their arms were bent when they bowled their "effort" ball.

"You can see it. They all do it," he said.

Yardley said Murali was freakish because his shoulder rotates 360 degrees with the arm bent, with only a slight variation in flexion.

"He's been targeted because he's got a deformity to his elbow - he's got a bent arm. He can't straighten it.

"His arm action is so quick, if he was snapping at the elbow, he wouldn't have bowled 1000 overs in international cricket, let alone 8,000."

Yardley said after Murali's wrist got used to the doosra he began to learn how to spin it the other way - away from right-handed batsmen.

"I rate him as an unbelievable bowler - magnificent. But I'd still like to see him come to Australia and do well," he said.

"He'll still have his knockers - there's no doubt about that. But I've stuck with him all the way."

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