Sri Lanka issue reprimand to Muralitharan

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The Independent Online

Muttiah Muralitharan has been rebuked by the Sri Lankan cricket board after questioning the bowling actions of Australia's leading pace bowlers.

Muttiah Muralitharan has been rebuked by the Sri Lankan cricket board after questioning the bowling actions of Australia's leading pace bowlers.

Muralitharan stirred up controversy when he said in an interview with an Australian radio station that Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee flexed their arms by 12, 13 and 14 to 15 degrees respectively.

At present, spinners are permitted five degrees of bend, medium pacers 7.5 and fast bowlers 10, although last week an International Cricket Council committee recommended that all bowlers be allowed to flex their arms by up to 15 degrees.

The Sri Lankan board, Sri Lanka Cricket, has demanded an explanation from their leading off-spinner and insisted that Muralitharan seek their prior permission before agreeing to any more media interviews.

Muralitharan said his comments had been misrepresented. "I never called anyone a chucker," Muralitharan stated. "All I said is that if you are accusing me of going over the level of tolerance, you have to look at your own bowlers too," he said.

Muralitharan is set to resume bowling his controversial doosra, a disguised leg-break, after the ICC committee recommended a change in the rules. The doosra has been measured at around 14 degrees.

Muralitharan travels to Australia next week to consult a Melbourne-based surgeon, David Young, who will assess his recovery from shoulder surgery in August. He hopes to return to top-class cricket in January when Sri Lanka will be touring New Zealand.

Ricky Ponting and Stephen Fleming, the Australia and New Zealand captains respectively, yesterday welcomed the ICC's change of rules on throwing, though both remain somewhat confused on the issue. "It's a little bit vague," Fleming said yesterday. Ponting's opinion was that: "We still need to know a bit more about it. We need to see it in action and see it in place."

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