The chucking controversy April 22, 2004

Bucknor: 'Murali's action looks terrible'

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Steve Bucknor has admitted that Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action "appears terrible" to the naked eye, but has urged those who doubt its legality to judge him by the evidence of TV replays.

"When you look at him with the naked eye you believe that everything he does is wrong," said Bucknor, "but with the television replay you will see a big difference. And therefore those who are going to be judging him, should judge him off what they see on television and not on what they believe and what they think."

The debate into Murali's action resurfaced last month, when his controversial "doosra" delivery was called into question by the ICC match referee, Chris Broad. It is reported that subsequent tests at the University of Western Australia have demonstrated that the delivery requires a 10-degree flexing of the elbow, which is five degrees more than the current legal limit.

The ICC is waiting to receive a report from Sri Lanka Cricket before making any further pronouncements, although it insists that the current bowling regulations are not likely to change in the immediate future.

"The current levels of tolerance reflect the reality that most bowlers straighten their arm to some degree when bowling," said the ICC's chief executive, Malcolm Speed. "These current levels of tolerance are based on expert advice that suggests beyond a certain level, bowlers will gain an unfair advantage. In the case of spin bowlers, the allowable level of straightening is five degrees."