Muralitharan tests are 'pointless', says Gilchrist

The Australia vice-captain, Adam Gilchrist, said yesterday that the biomechanical testing of Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action is pointless because the clinical conditions cannot be compared with the cricket field.

The Australia vice-captain, Adam Gilchrist, said yesterday that the biomechanical testing of Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action is pointless because the clinical conditions cannot be compared with the cricket field.

Muralitharan's action was reported to the International Cricket Council after the Test series against Australia last month with the match referee Chris Broad expressing concerns about the delivery of his "doosra". Muralitharan was ordered to undergo testing at the University of Western Australia, where experts assessed the delivery of the "doosra" - which spins away from right-handed batsmen - and have since forwarded the findings to the Sri Lankan cricket board.

"I have got to question why they bother doing a test like that, whether it is Murali or anyone else in world cricket," Gilchrist said. "There is nothing similar between the laboratory and what you are facing in the Test matches." Jacque Alderson, one of the biomechanical experts involved in the case, said it would be difficult but not impossible for Muralitharan to change his technique without being noticed during testing.

"I think it would be highly unlikely that someone will be able to change their action inside that environment," Alderson said. "To be honest I don't know any other way it could be tested." She added that it took the same amount of time for Muralitharan to rotate his shoulder in testing as in match conditions and "that is probably the only validity check we could make".

Muralitharan was no-balled for chucking in 1995 by the Australian umpire Darrell Hair, although he was later cleared by the ICC after tests determined that a slight abnormality of his elbow gave the illusion that the off-spinner was chucking.

"What I find interesting is they [the ICC] say you don't need to look at his general off-break anymore because we have cleared that," Gilchrist said. "A bowler can change what they want every single delivery. I don't see that you can say they are cleared, we don't need to look for it anymore."

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