ICC denies drawing up list of chucking bowlers

Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The International Cricket Council (ICC) rubbished Australian media reports that it had drawn up a list of bowlers with suspect actions even as officials moved to put a lid on the controversy.

Media reports down under said the sport's governing body planned to target bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan, Harbhajan Singh of India and Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas of Sri Lanka for their bowling actions.

But ICC general manager David Richardson, a former South African wicket-keeper, said in a statement the reports were "completely untrue."

"To say that the ICC has a specific list of bowlers under scrutiny is completely untrue," said Richardson, who earlier this month chaired an expert sub-committee in Dubai on the issue of illegal deliveries.

"The sub-committe was convened to look at the overall picture of the current regulations for dealing with potentially flawed bowling actions. It dealt with principles and processes, not personalities. It had no mandate or responsibilities to report on specific players or their bowling actions and at no stage did it do so."

"It is disappointing that this report has appeared without any attempt to discuss this issue with the ICC. One phone call prior to publication could have dealt with this."

The committee, which includes former Test stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Aravinda de Silva, Angus Fraser and Michael Holding, recommended a new rule allowing bowlers to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

If the proposed new ruling is accepted by the ICC chief executives' committee of the 10 Test-playing countries at Melbourne in February, Muralitharan will be allowed to bowl his controversial 'doosra' delivery which turns the other way from his normal off-break.

Muralitharan, Test cricket's second most successful bowler with 532 wickets, was earlier this year banned by the ICC from bowling the 'doosra'.

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

Muralitharan, meanwhile, was barred by his home authorities from making statements on the bowling actions of other players following a row over his reported comments on Australia's pace trio of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee.

The off-spinner was quoted in Australian media reports as questioning the legality of the trio's action in the wake of the ICC's assertion that research revealed that almost every bowler straightened his arm on the verge of delivery.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) spokesman Ray Illangakoon said in Colombo that Muralitharan will not be allowed to comment on the issue in future.

"Murali is a contracted player of the SLC and we have told him not to make statements without our approval," Illangakoon said.

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