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August 17, 2007
The former India captain, Bishan Bedi, has laid the blame for his current row with Muttiah Muralitharan at the door of the International Cricket Council.
Last week Bedi, a long-term critic of Muralitharan, compared his bowling action to that of a "shotputter". The comment has led Murali to claim Rs. 750 million (US $7 million) in damages for defamation.
The matter looks set to be decided in the courts, but Bedi believes that the ICC are guilty of "flouting the spirit of the game" in allowing Murali to continue with his controversial bowling action. In 2005, they amended the law regarded illegal bowling actions, to allow a 15-degree threshold of flexibility.
"It's not poor Murali's fault," Bedi was quoted as saying in the Times of India. "My grouse is against the ICC, which may yet rue this decision. Cricket has been a part of my existence for as long as I can remember and I can't bear to see the spirit of the game being flouted."
Muralitharan's manager, Kushil Gunasekera, said his lawyers had given Bedi 14 days to respond. "I am a free man and I have a right to express my opinion," said Bedi. "I haven't said anything new. Everyone knows for years my views on the matter."
"The most worrying thing is that young boys are trying to emulate him. Murali's success has prompted kids from Sri Lanka to Maharashtra to Gujarat (states in India) to emulate his action. Can that be a good thing for cricket?"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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