Colombo, Mar.5: Just when you thought the Murali-Hair controversy was dead and buried, more trouble is brewing. The ex-umpire Darrell Hair has piped up again, claiming that several World Cup 2011 match officials are of the opinion that veteran Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is in fact a chucker, but have refrained from calling him in the matches so far.
It may be recalled that Hair was the first international umpire to call Muralitharan for throwing in 1995. Hair still believes Muralitharan continues to chuck.
Speaking before Muralidaran's showdown with the Australians at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Saturday afternoon, Hair said he and Roy Emerson were not the only umpires who believed the spinner's action was still flawed.
He added: "There is still a lot of doubt about his deliveries. A few have told me, "There is definitely something wrong with his action, but I'm not going to call him". They are the ones who have to live with that. If you're an umpire you're meant to uphold the law so both teams get a fair shake. There's been some umpires who think, "I'm on a good wicket here, I''m making good money, I won't rock the boat".
The 38-year-old off-spinner has more than once been cleared by the ICC, which ordered Muralitharan undergo biomechanical testing, but his action has constantly polarised opinion.
"I watched a few of his deliveries in his game against Pakistan and I noticed the last few overs when he was really getting some turn on the ball, those wouldn't have complied under scrutiny," Hair said.
"But this is his last World Cup, he's going to bow out with a lot of fanfare and no umpire will be bothered by it," Hair said.
Hair claimed the ICC repeatedly turned a blind eye to his doubts about Muralitharan.
"Each time I wrote a list of concerns and put them in a report, but the report system wasn't working," he said.