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18 January 1999
Murali should be treated with respect
A young man doing his best
The controversy over the bowling action of Muttiah Muralitharan could come to a climax next Saturday (23 January) in Adelaide where the Sri Lanka vs England One-day match in the current traingular series (Australia is of course the third country) is scheduled to be played.
This is because the umpires at this match will be Ross Emerson and Tony McQuillan, two of three Australian international umpires, who no-balled Muralitharan for purportedly throwing on the previous tour of 1995-96. It will be the first time Emerson has controlled a game involving Muralitharan this season.
One media commentator observes that Emerson "has been seemingly kept at arm's length from the Sri Lankan games although in first class terms he is Australia's senior umpire, having made his representative debut back in 1982-83".
Darrel Hair no-balled Muralitharan seven times for throwing at a One-day match played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 26 December 1995. In a One-day match played a week later in Brisbane, Ross Emerson and Tony McQuillan no-balled Muralitharan.
Umpire Hair has withdrawn from all Sri Lanka's games this summer.
Meanwhile, as a cricket commentator for The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Roebuck, points out, "Murali is entitled to know how things stand, as are his selectors and captain. So are spectators. At present he is insulted whenever he comes on to bowl, a reaction that shows the Australians in a poor light.
"This matter must be sorted out. Meanwhile, Murali should be treated with respect. He must feel confused and betrayed. After all, he is simply bowling naturally. Murali has not taken a bribe or enhancing drugs or claimed a catch on the bounce. He is a just a young man like all the others, a young man doing his best."
Roebuck observes that he has no particular difficulty with Murali's action. He says: "Murali action seems reasonably smooth, though his wrist work is extraordinary. He is a freakish cricketer and the game must be careful not to turn its back on these types. He is also a lovely bowler with remarkable accuracy and concentration. But I'd be happy to accept the verdict of a duly appointed body".
Whether the matter goes to a duly appointed body could depend to a considerable extent on the match referee for the current triangular series, Peter Van Der Merve of South Africa. The concerns he has indicated about Muralitharan's bowling action are likely to be included in his overall report to the International Cricket Council (ICC) at the end of the triangular tournament. The ICC will refer such a report to its nine-man advisory panel on illegal bowling deliveries. This panel includes former fast bowlers Michael Holding (West Indies), Kapil Dev (India), as well as former Test players Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka and Bob Simpson of Australia.
Writing in The Australian, Andrew Ramsey points out that after viewing videotapes of Muralitharan's action, taken from as many angles as possible, each panel member would then have a maximum of two days to form a judgment. A conference call would then be held involving all nine members and once a decision was reached it would be passed on to the relevant controlling body - in this case the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka - for any action.
Source :: Daily News (http://www.lanka.net)