Murali braces up to prove a point
Muttiah Muralitharan recently wore a specially designed elbow brace to demonstrate to a crowd at the Shenley Cricket Centre in Hertforshire that he does not throw while bowling. The demonstration was filmed by Channel 4, and will be made into a documentary.
The Indian Express and The Times of India have reported that the brace was administered by Dr Mandeep Dhillon, who Muralitharan got in touch with in Colombo at the suggestion of Mahinda Wijasinghe, a local reporter. Dhillon said that the brace would not allow a bending of the elbow. "Murali wanted to prove a point that he could spin with his wrists and shoulder and does not need his elbow as support," said Dhillon. "I designed a brace for Murali and asked him to bowl with it. The brace weighs 2.5 kg and has three steel rods covered in nylon. I strapped it to his elbow to make it immoveable."
He compared Murali's predicament to CB Fry's "who faced a problem similar to Murali's. Fry, accused of chucking, apparently bowled with a brace for a couple of Tests and cleared his name."
Murali's reaction indicated he was satisfied with the exercise, and though he denied he was making a point to the ICC, he took a pot shot at people who he believed were ignorant about his action. "It is to educate certain people and cricketers in England and Australia," he said, "who think they know a lot about the game but actually don't."
Some of the most vocal disapproval of Murali's action has come from Australia, with even the prime minister, John Howard, getting in on the act. But Murali's manager was confident that he would get back to his job soon, as Channel 4's coverage would be conclusive. "He will soon be allowed to bowl the doosra and get back to doing what he knows best," said Kushil Gunasekera. "Taking wickets."