हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

CA assures trouble-free series for Murali Down Under

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007, 13:51 [IST]
 
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Sydney: Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he did not believe Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan would face racist abuse from crowds during their upcoming tour.

Sutherland was responding to reported comments from former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga advising Murali to skip the tour in the wake of Australia's recent racially-charged one-day series in India.

Ranatunga told Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper from Colombo that it would be best for the spinner to miss the series, given the abuse he has previously suffered from Australian crowds about his controversial bowling action.

"I told him I wish he wasn't touring Australia because of the amount of trouble he has had," Ranatunga told the newspaper.

Sutherland said he was pleased Murali was visiting Australia after boycotting a previous tour in 2004, and he was confident local crowds would not resort to racial abuse.

"I'm not concerned about it," he said. "We had a major campaign last year to increase awareness and understanding -- people know where the line is drawn," he told reporters.

"There is no place for racism in cricket. We will take the strictest, harshest action possible if there are incidents."

Australia's only black player Andrew Symonds was subjected to monkey chants in India, prompting concerns about a backlash during upcoming tours involving India and Sri Lanka.

Muralitharan's ultra-flexible bowling action has come under its heaviest scrutiny in Australia, where he has been called for throwing on two tours and subjected to constant crowd calls of "no ball".

He boycotted Sri Lanka's 2004 tour to Australia after Australian Prime Minister John Howard labelled him a 'chucker'.

However, he returned to Australia for a one-off Test for the Rest of the World in Sydney in 2005 and a one-day series in 2006, when he was unofficially reprimanded for making a one-fingered gesture to taunting spectators in Perth.

The upcoming two-Test trip to Australia has added edge because Muralitharan needs only nine wickets to overtake retired local hero Shane Warne's world record of 708 Test wickets.

Murali should not tour Australia, says Arjuna: Earlier on Sunday, the former Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga, has advised Muttiah Muralitharan to not tour Australia in November.

"I told him I wished he wasn't touring Australia because of the amount of trouble he has had," Ranatunga said. "But he wants to go. It was up to him to decide that. My personal opinion was that he shouldn't go. I think Murali is tough enough to go through that and take whatever he gets."

Ranatunga, who reportedly made these comments in the backdrop of recently concluded Australia's tour of India which was marred by racist slurs from the crowd, was apprenhensive of Murali might be targetted.

Agencies

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