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Chuck out chuckers from cricket, says Crowe

Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London:New Zealand great Martin Crowe launched a thinly-disguised attack on Muttiah Muralitharan as he called on officials to make sure 'chuckers' were "chucked out" of cricket.

Changes to international regulations brought about by investigations into controversial Sri Lanka off-spinner Muralitharan's action mean elite bowlers are now allowed a maximum of 15 degrees of straightening in delivery.

But there is no room for manoeuvre under the Laws of Cricket and former Test batsman Crowe insisted that was right.

"I have zero tolerance of 'chucking' in cricket," said Crowe while giving the 2006 Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's here Thursday. "I'm sick to death with the hypocrisy of the last 10 years.

"I don't care about talk of 15 degrees here or 10 degrees there... if with the naked eye a bowler is clearly chucking - even by one degree - he should be chucked out... To straighten your arm from any bent position is a massive advantage over other bowlers who bowl properly."

Then, in a reference to Muralitharan, he added: "Having been pinned in the head by 'chuckers' over 15 years, having been dubiously bowled first ball in a Test by a certain Sri Lanka bowler, having tried to bowl a decent ball myself with a straight arm, I've had more than enough of this aspect of the game."

Only Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne has taken more than 34-year-old Muralitharan's 635 Test wickets in the history of the game.

But the Sri Lankan's career has been dogged by rows over the legitimacy of his unique action, which saw him no-balled for throwing during tours of Australia in 1995/96 and 1998/99.

Two years ago his 'doosra' delivery (a ball which turns away from the right-handed batsman, the opposite of a standard off-spinner) was reported by match referee Chris Broad, the former England opening batsman.

That led to a general inquiry into throwing by the International Cricket Council (ICC) which in turn sparked a relaxation of the rules governing Test, one-day and first-class matches after it was found that many bowlers were bending their arms in delivery.

Meanwhile, in a wide-ranging speech, Crowe, who exactly 23 years ago Tuesday scored a Test century at Lord's, called for the World Cup to be shortened and One-day games to feature two innings per side.

He added minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe should be thrown out of Test cricket, saying they were "clogging up the works".

Crowe, now 43, scored over 5,400 runs in 77 Tests at an average of above 45 with 17 hundreds before his career was cut short by a knee injury which led to his retirement in 1995.

The Cowdrey Lecture was inaugurated six years ago by Lord's owners Marylebone Cricket Club in memory of the late England captain Colin Cowdrey.

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