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Sunday, 2 June, 2002, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Emerson slams Sri Lankan 'chuckers'
Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan's action has been causing controveries
Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan's bowling action is paving the way for "a generation of chuckers", according to former Australian international umpire Ross Emerson.

Muralitharan, who is currently on tour in England, is widely regarded as one of the greatest spin bowlers in the history of the game.

But in an interview with the Perth Sunday Times, Emerson said; "Over in the sub-continent, they're now producing a generation of chuckers and nobody cares - it's just getting worse."

Emerson was sacked by the Australian Cricket Board when the Sri Lankan team threatened to walk off the field after he no-balled Muralitharan during a match in Adelaide in 1999.

Emerson no-balled Murali in 1998-99
Murali, umpire Emerson and Ranatunga in Adelaide

"Some of the Australians who came back from a tour a few years ago said all they had to do was walk down the street past any school, and you had a whole playground of kids chucking," said Emerson.

"So who is going to stop it? Where does it stop?"

Muralitharan was reported to the game's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), for throwing in 1995.

He was later cleared, following detailed studies of his action.

ICC experts have agreed with Sri Lankan officials that an 'anatomical disorder' gives the illusion that his arm does not straighten.

Muralitharan recently returned to the Sri Lankan side for the second Test against England at Edgbaston after being sidelined with injury.

Emerson also ridiculed the successes of the off-spinner as an "absolute joke".

"They are talking about him as the best spin bowler ever, but how many people has he got out through illegal actions?

Muttiah Muralitharan
ICC: 'Anatominal disorder' causes bend in Murali's hand

Muralitharan has notched up 417 wickets in 74 Tests, after capturing 5-143 at Edgbaston.

Emerson said he felt so strongly about the issue - one of the hottest topics in world cricket - that he had tried to contact Australian vice captain Adam Gilchrist to offer him support.

"Gilchrist got it right. He said only what all the players think," he said.

Gilchrist, who also called Murali a chucker, was reprimanded by the Australian authorities for breaching the board's code of conduct.

Though Emerson was sacked from umpiring duties in international matches, many influential figures in Australia believe he was punished by the ACB for putting principle and a strongly-held belief before political correctness.

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21 Feb 01 | England on Tour
11 Jul 00 | Cricket
27 May 02 | Cricket
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