Murali reported for suspect action

Muttiah Muralitharan has been reported by Chris Broad, the match referee of the Test series between Sri Lanka and Asutralia, for having a suspect action

Muralitharan: action under the spotlight again © AFP
Muttiah Muralitharan has again been reported to the ICC for having a suspect action. Chris Broad, the former England batsman who is the match referee for the Test series between Sri Lanka and Australia that finished today, has reported that in his opinion the action with which Muralitharan delivers the doosra - his "wrong'un" that turns from leg to off - is not legitimate.
Ajit Jayasekara, the Sri Lankan team's administrative manager, explained: "At the start of play I was called to the match referee's office, and Chris Broad told me that he had some bad news - he would be reporting Murali for the ball that goes the other way.
"We broke the news to the team and Murali only at the end of the day's play. He was disappointed, and very down, but Murali does not think that he has a problem with his delivery."
Broad, in his official statement, clarified that he had a problem only with the doosra, and not Muralitharan's regular offspinner. "The concern is that this ball may be delivered with an action that is not in accordance with the laws of the game and accordingly I have submitted this report for further investigation. In making this report I would like to emphasise that it relates to this new delivery only."
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has pledged that while it will work to resolve the situation, it will be supportive of Muralitharan throughout. A statement from the SLC said: "We have already initiated action in co-ordination with the SLC Cricket Committee and Bowling Review Group to work with Mr Muralitharan in compliance with the process that it is in place with the ICC. Sri Lanka Cricket will vigorously support Mr Muralitharan through this process and are confident that he will continue to play for his country and clear any doubts with regard to his bowling action."
Muralitharan's action has been the subject of endless debate over the years. He sufferes from a congenital condition that means he cannot fully straighten his elbow - but the relevant laws permit this as long as the arm stays in the same position throughout the delivery and the elbow isn't flexed.
Muralitharan was called for throwing in Australia in 1995-96, but later had his action cleared by biomechanical experts from the University of Western Australia. Significantly, however, one of those same experts recently cast doubt on the legitimacy of the doosra - a delivery Muralitharan has only mastered recently - saying that it needed investigation as it might constitute a throw.