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Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Gilchrist queries Murali's action
Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan's action has been cleared by the ICC
Australia vice-captain Adam Gilchrist has re-opened the debate over Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action by reportedly calling the Sri Lankan off-spinner a "chucker".

Gilchrist, speaking at a Carlton (Australian) Football Club luncheon on Sunday, claimed Muralitharan's action does not comply with the rules of cricket.

Muralitharan, a wicket-taking phenomenon with 412 Test scalps, was first called for throwing by Australian umpire Darrell Hair at the MCG in 1995, sparking ill-feeling between Sri Lanka and Australia.

Murali's action has repeatedly come into question since, and each time he has been cleared by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

I don't have any hard feelings against Murali, because he's a top bloke, a terrific cricketer
Adam Gilchrist
But Gilchrist, the world's top-ranked batsman, has thrust the contentious issue back into the spotlight with his comments.

However, the wicket-keeper said Muralitharan was not alone, suggesting he is symptomatic of a failed system on the sub-continent.

"Yeah, I think he does (chuck)," the Melbourne-based Age newspaper quoted Gilchrist as saying.

"And I say that because, if you read the laws of the game, there's no doubt in my mind that he and many others, throughout cricket history have.

"He's always smiling through all the hard times he's been through; it's not his fault. It's just the system is such that he's been able to keep doing that.

"It's amazing when you do go to the sub-continent and you see so many young bowlers in the nets and they all run in and they've all got similar actions and they obviously just do not worry about it," he said.

Remedial treatment

Gilchrist said young bowlers in Australia demonstrating a questionable action were given remedial treatment as a matter of course.

"If a junior like that has an action like that out here, it's just corrected as quickly as possible."

Australia fast bowler Brett Lee has been mentioned in circles as a possible thrower of the ball, but Gilchrist is not convinced.

"I'm sure there's other people that say Brett Lee throws the ball at different times, but it's such a fine line, and (with) the technology that we have now, they slow it down, slow motion and scrutinise everything."

Gilchrist's comments come only days after Sri Lankan paceman Ruchira Perera's action was reported to the International Cricket Council following the first Test against England at Lord's.

Muralitharan missed the game because of a shoulder injury.

BBC Five Live's Ashish Sharma
"These comments are likely to open up old wounds"
See also:

20 May 02 | England
23 Jan 99 | Cricket
05 Oct 00 | Cricket
06 Mar 02 | Cricket
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