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BBC Sport's Rory MacDonald
"Bradman believed that Hair's action took the development of cricket back 10 years"
 real 14k

Thursday, 14 June, 2001, 07:30 GMT 08:30 UK
Bradman backed Murali
Muttiah Muralitharan bowling against England
Bradman believed Muralitharan was a great bowler
Australian Test legend Sir Donald Bradman blamed umpire Darrell Hair for starting a "distasteful" controversy over the bowling action of Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan.

In a record of conversations released to the Times of India by his publisher, Tom Thompson, Bradman made it clear that he believed Hair should not have called Muralitharan for throwing during Sri Lanka's 1995-96 tour to Australia.

"It was technically impossible for umpire Hair to call Murali from the bowler's end even once," wrote Bradman.

This was the worst example of umpiring that I have witnessed and against everything the game stands for
  Sir Donald Bradman

"I believe Hair's action - in one over - took the development of world cricket back by ten years."

The incident has not been forgotten by Sri Lanka who refused to accept Hair as an umpire for one of their games at last year's ICC Knockout Trophy event in Kenya.

Bradman, who died earlier this year aged 92, had no doubts about Muralitharan's action and said he had "perhaps the highest discipline of any spin bowler since the Second World War".

He continued: "He holds all the guile of the trade. He is the stuff of our greatest slow bowlers and for me, Murali is one like O'Reilly or Warne, who are game-breakers.

Australian umpire Darrell Hair
Hair's call sparked controversy

"Murali wants to bamboozle, to trick, through flight and change of pace."

Muralitharan has taken 317 wickets in 62 Test appearances at an average of 25.62.

He is among six current players to have been awarded a special Bradman cap, presented by the Bradman Trust.

The others honoured are Indians Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Vangipurappu Laxman and Harbhajan Singh, and West Indies batsman Brian Lara.

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See also:

25 Mar 01 |  Death of Don Bradman
Greats attend Bradman tribute
26 Feb 01 |  Death of Don Bradman
The Don - A cricket legend
30 Dec 00 |  Cricket
Murali targets 500 tally
30 Dec 00 |  Cricket
Sri Lanka's king of spin
05 Oct 00 |  Cricket
Hair trimmed after protest
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