'Shot putter' comment goes too far

Murali considers legal action after Bedi jibe

Cricinfo staff

August 14, 2007

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Muttiah Muralitharan celebrated his 700th Test wicket last month © AFP

Muttiah Muralitharan is reported to be considering taking legal action against Bishan Bedi after Bedi made disparaging comments about his bowling action. A letter of demand has already been sent to Bedi claiming Rs. 750 million (US $7 million) in damages for defamation.

Three leading Sri Lanka lawyers, including a president's counsel, have teamed up and offered their help. If the letter of demand is not answered then legal action will be taken in either Sri Lanka or India.

Bedi is a long-time critic of Muralitharan and has a history of attacking his records. Last week he compared him to a "shot putter" and went on to say that "Murali will complete 1000 Test wickets but they would count as mere run-outs in my eyes".

It seems that Bedi has crossed the line this time. Yesterday, Kushal Gunasekara, Muralitharan's agent, told Indian television that, "Murali is hurt over Bedi's remarks. We are working with a team of lawyers. His integrity has been challenged. Restraint in speech is very important.

"Bedi is indulging in character assassination. The remarks are disrespectful and unjustified." The lawyers hired by Gunasekara told Sri Lanka's Daily News: "We are writing a letter to Bedi and if needed, he will be dragged into a court of law".

Last week, Kangadaran Madivanan, Sri Lanka Cricket's secretary, attacked Bedi, calling his remarks "defamatory". Muralitharan's action has been cleared by the ICC on more than one occasion.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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