ICC back Broad in 'boozing' row
The International Cricket Council has questioned the credibility of allegations levelled against its match referee, Chris Broad, who was accused by Colombo's Sunday Observer newspaper of "boozing" with the Australian team during their recent Test series in Sri Lanka.
"The allegations that have appeared in the media and attributed to Sri Lanka Cricket are serious and significant yet there is not one piece of evidence offered to support them," said Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive. "There are no specifics - no places, no dates, no times - and it is disappointing that a national board would elect to make disparaging comments about an ICC match official without providing any material to support these comments.
"The issue has been discussed with Chris Broad," added Speed, "and he is unaware of any behaviour or incident during his time in Sri Lanka that would prompt such allegations." Broad did, however, reopen the debate into Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action, when he questioned the legality of his doosra during the second Test at Kandy.
It was a decision which infuriated the Sri Lankan cricket board, and Broad was subsequently removed as match referee for Sri Lanka's trip to Zimbabwe. But subsequent tests in Australia demonstrated that the delivery did involve a ten-degree flexing of the elbow, five degrees more than the established legal limit for a spinner. Nevertheless, Bruce Elliott, the biomechanist who carried out the tests, believed Murali should be allowed to carry on bowling until further tests had been carried out.
"It is disappointing for me that such allegations have been made without any substance to back them up," said Broad. "I enjoyed the opportunity to officiate in this series in Sri Lanka and entirely reject any suggestion that I acted improperly during my time in the country."
Broad's protestations of innocence were backed up by Cricket Australia's officials, who confirmed that his personal and professional behaviour had been entirely appropriate during the tour. "In light of the advice from Mr Broad and Cricket Australia," concluded Speed, "if Sri Lanka Cricket has a different view, it must now detail its claims and support them if they are to be taken seriously."