The chucking controversy June 11, 2004

Taylor's warning for ICC

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Taylor feels Murali, and other bowlers whose action is in doubt, should be handled by umpires on the field © Getty Images

Peter Taylor has cautioned the International Cricket Council against accepting the Sri Lankan board's request to allow Muttiah Muralitharan to bowl his doosra, saying that it was like "going from one disaster to another". Taylor, the former Australian offspinner, said that calling illegal deliveries was a decision best left to umpires on the field.

"I don't like that whole methodology to get an academic to assess a bloke in a laboratory situation," Taylor told the AAP agency. "I know that he would be a good enough bowler to bowl for two weeks without bending his arm. It's what happens in the game that matters, not what happens in a laboratory in Western Australia," he said, referring to the biomechanical tests that Muralitharan underwent at the University of Western Australia. "I just think it's an excuse to let a bloke who's very marginal keep playing. Under the old rule he wouldn't be playing."

The old rule left decision-making to the umpires, but under the current regulations, umpires have to report any suspicion of illegal deliveries to the match referee, after which the bowler comes under review. Incidentally, Wisden Cricinfo recently spoke to a few of the game's experts, and they too were in favour of handing responsibility back to the umpires.

Muralitharan's bowling came under severe scrutiny after he was first no-balled in 1995 but, since then, he has gone on to become the highest wicket-taker in Tests. When he passed Courtney Walsh's record tally of 519 wickets in Sri Lanka recently, the criticism reached a crescendo, with even John Howard, the Australian prime minister, having something to say about his action.

Taylor said that Murali deserved better, and took aim at the administrators for not handling the issue properly. "There's been analysis ad nauseam about Murali for years and they're still all talking about it," he said. "It's a shame because people will always look at him and question whether he should be put up there with the game's other leading bowlers who are legal. I feel sorry for him that the administrators haven't handled it better."