Leading Aussie pace trio are chuckers: Murali

Published: Monday, November 15, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Sri Lankan spin whiz Muttiah Muralitharan has returned fire on his Australian detractors by claiming three of their leading pacers bowl illegal deliveries.

Muralitharan, who has endured controversy over his bowling action throughout his 532-Test wicket career, said Monday Australian trio Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie were all flexing their arms beyond the legal limit.

The chucking debate reared last week when proposed changes in rules going before the International Cricket Council (ICC) for consideration next February were seen as allowing Muralitharan to resume bowling his controversial 'doosra.'

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

Muralitharan, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, believes 99 percent of bowlers are chucking, including McGrath, Lee and Gillespie.

Muralitharan said almost all bowlers flexed their arms, including the Australians.

"McGrath is bowling about 13 (degrees), Gillespie about 12 and Brett Lee about 14 or 15, so what about them then, the Australian players?," Muralitharan said in a radio interview Monday. "What about other international players?"

Muralitharan said he had been subject to unfair scrutiny throughout his career because other cricket nations were jealous of his achievements.

"When you perform well from an ordinary country rather than a big country, then people think there is something wrong," he said on radio Sport927.

"That's not my problem, they have to clarify themselves."

Muralitharan, who has often been heckled by Australian crowds since being no-balled here seven times for an illegal delivery by Australian umpire Darrell Hair in a Test match in 1995, said he was still unsure if he would play again in Australia.

He sat out the Sri Lankans' mid-year tour of northern Australia because of "personal reasons".

"The (Australian) people are not a problem, it is the cricket-playing people that are a problem, they are a little bit ignorant ...," he said.

The off-spinner said he hoped to tour New Zealand in December.

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