ICC research aims to clear up spin confusion

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The Sport's ruling body, the International Cricket Council, is commissioning research into the bowling action of spinners to counter suggestions that certain bowlers are being protected.

The Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who has taken 485 Test wickets, has been a particular target of Australian critics who have alleged some of his deliveries are illegal.

"The ICC is commissioning new research relating to spinners so that we have a clear, fact-based understanding of what actually takes place in a spinner's [action] and rather than solely rely on the naked eye or on TV replays which have proven to be deceptive," the ICC said in a statement.

The research, under the direction of the ICC general manager, David Richardson, will take place later this year.

"I would also emphasise that every umpire and every referee judges these issues solely on what they see in front of them," said the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed.

"From time to time there are suggestions made that a particular player is either targeted or protected. This is simply untrue," he said.

"The ICC is committed to dealing with this issue and will continue to examine the best process to address any concerns."

In the past year three fast bowlers - the West Indian Jermaine Lawson, Bangladesh's Sanwar Hossein and Pakistan's Shabbir Ahmed - have been reported for suspect bowling actions and undergone work to reshape their deliveries.