Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, has called for the ICC to review Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action, specifically the doosra - the delivery that leaves the right-handed batsman.
Crowe suggested that Muralitharan needed to be monitored more often to ensure his arm was not flexing more than permitted. According to Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan board (SLC) has prepared a full-bodied defence should the ICC hold an inquiry into the matter.
During Sri Lanka's recent 217-run Test win at Wellington, Crowe, currently a television commentator, claimed Murali's action deteriorated during a matchwinning spell on day four and needed to be reassessed. Following the match, Crowe sent an e-mail detailing his concerns to the ICC. It was reported that he planned to include video footage.
"I have no worries over his offspinner whatsoever," Crowe told The Dominion Post, a New Zealand daily. "It's the doosra which he now bowls more and more, often up to 50% in a given spell, which needs further clarification. His doosra was banned two years ago and I believe it needs consistent monitoring."
Jayawardene came to Muralitharan's defence. "It's quite sad it's gone this far. From a cricket point of view this is something that has to stop," he said. "It's a ridiculous situation. Murali shouldn't be penalised every time he takes 10 wickets.They [the SLC] will do a presentation to the ICC as well. If he [Crowe] wants to take it higher up ... depending on the outcome we will also react."
Jayawardene added that Muralitharan would remain impervious to the latest round of crititicism: "He's fine, he has no problems and is just concentrating on cricket".
John Reid, the former New Zealand captain who stood on the ICC illegal delivery panel that cleared Muralitharan six years ago, disagreed with his compatriot. "He [Crowe] won't believe these so-called experts who are the ICC illegal delivery panel. Murali's also been passed by the biomechanists," Reid said. "Everyone thinks he has a bent elbow. He hasn't, he can't straighten his elbow. He's got a double-jointed wrist like you wouldn't believe."