March 11, 2004


Add John Benaud to Tony the Teacherís list of Muralitharan doubters:

Articulate and with decades of experience in the game, Benaud offers an opinion on just about any topic without fear of being reprimanded or causing a public relations disaster.

So while you won't hear any of the Australian Test team call Sri Lankan spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan a "chucker" (Adam Gilchrist did and was crucified), Benaud doesn't hold back.

He was in a relaxed mood at No 1 Oval yesterday before the start of the Dubbo versus Australian Old Collegians team, and the question, "Do you think Murali's a chucker," brought a smile to his face.

He looked over the field and said, "I think he does. I've noticed that he's gone from a bent-armed bowler to a rubber-wristed one.

"I've got no doubts that his action is completely illegal."

Heís right. Just watch the man "bowl".

Posted by Tim Blair at March 11, 2004 12:36 AM

I spent an afternoon once playing cricket with some Indians here in California, and straight-arm bowling is about the most unnatural act one can commit without outside assistance.

Posted by: Andrew at March 11, 2004 at 12:43 AM

Ask Umpires Darryl Hair and Ross Emerson about whether he chucks or not.

Muralitheran is still chucking, Emerson was "retired"' and Hair has gone to live in England.

Gentleman's sport? Ha.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at March 11, 2004 at 12:55 AM

Anybody care to explain this to us here in the US?

Posted by: david at March 11, 2004 at 12:59 AM

Sorry Dave,
Secret Aussie business.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at March 11, 2004 at 01:52 AM

I think he is a chucker. He doesn't bowl with a bent arm at all. Its bent to begin with then straitens as he lets go of the ball.

Posted by: Mike A. at March 11, 2004 at 03:37 AM

Aw, c'mon guys! You Aussies whinge almost as well as Sir Clive Woodward (did you see his face when his babies were whipped by Ireland the other day?). You have a bad day at the cricket (out for 220 before tea on the first day, I can't remember when last that happened), Murali takes a few wickets and all of a sudden the chorus arises that he's a chucker. He has taken wickets against all other teams in the world, is acknowledged as a master of his craft, yet to my knowledge it's only in Australia that he is demonised. Get over it, he has been cleared to play by the authorities, learn to deal with him like everyone else has to learn to deal with Warne. And don't mention that national treasure Daryl Hair - he has won as many games for Australia as Steve Waugh!

Posted by: Rob Wallace at March 11, 2004 at 04:06 AM

Sure, Pedro.

Next you'll try to tell us that cricket is a real sport in some way. Or curling, for god's sake.

We're not buying any of this Commonwealth malarky. You guys just make all of this stuff up.

Posted by: Sigivald at March 11, 2004 at 04:28 AM

Of course curling is a sport: consuming beer is an important part of the game; spectators are allowed to drink as well.


Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs, Capt at March 11, 2004 at 05:40 AM

Rob - the line 'he was cleared by authorities' is BS - you are judged on each ball. You may 'bowl' five, then chuck the last when you need a bit of extra spin (like murali did) The ICC were deathly afraid of doing anything about it, as all the subcontinent teams would cry racism! and refuse to play, plunging cricket into crisis (i love a good cliche). In the 70's an australian umpire had the balls to call an australian bowler for throwing - i would love to see a Sri Lankan umpire do the same...

Posted by: Paul Dub at March 11, 2004 at 08:31 AM

I've been very happily watching the test from Sri Lanka each evening this week (seriously, they should start ALL tests at 3:30pm - nothing better than watching a test match after dinner). Anyway, my wife and I sit there in our post-prandial calm, until we burst out with incredulous laughter when Murali 'bowls'. It's just so friggin' obvious!

A couple of years ago they got some biomechanical expert to tell us that his arm was deformed, and couldn't straighten, so therefore it was impossible for him to bowl with a straight arm. It's not it's straightness that's the problem, it's the fact that it straightens.

And now he doesn't want to come to Australia because the crowds tease him: they call out "no-ball" all the time. Easy fixed Murali - stop fucking chuckin' it!

Posted by: Chris at March 11, 2004 at 08:41 AM

Fox Sports have a puff piece on the chucker up at their site. 'The Don of Bowlers' it's claimed. This would imply that he abided by the rules of the game, and that somehow the Don's inherent class has rubbed off on the monkey chucker. Doubt it. No, rephrase. Murali and Don Bradman are about as closely aligned as Pilger being Bush's SecDef.
As for his histrionics over Oz crowds. I say fair enough, saves us the trouble of having to 'No ball' your ass out of the country.
The guy throws the ball like a girl trying to throw a tennis ball. It just doesn't LOOK right..

Posted by: Chief Bastard at March 11, 2004 at 09:31 AM

"Next you'll try to tell us that cricket is a real sport in some way. Or curling, for god's sake."

You yanks think cricket's confusing, check out farnarkeling.

Posted by: Craig Mc at March 11, 2004 at 09:50 AM

Time to reprieve this. I think it was originally posted at Tony.T's.
Throw, throw, throw the ball,
Gently down the seam.
Murily, Murily, Murily, Murily,
Chucks it like a dream.

Posted by: slatts at March 11, 2004 at 10:54 AM

Dear Dave,
Alright, here's my attempt: in cricket the bowler (the pitcher) must deliver the ball with a straight arm throughout the delivery (the pitch), or, if his elbow is bent at the start of the delivery it must remain at the same angle throught the delivery, not be bent then straighten up then bend again. This is unlike baseball pitching.

If you disobey the rule, and bowl with a throwing action, it is called chucking. Chucking gives some bowlers a big advantage, they can get more power, more spin, and make it much harder for the batsman (the batter) to hit the ball (the ball).

Sri Lanka has a very very successful bowler (pitcher) named Mutthiah Muralitharan, who has taken 6.03*10^23 wickets (i.e. got batsman out) in the last decade using a very suspicious delivery action, which many people think is illegal. Some umpires have penalised him for his dubious action, those umpires have been pilloried for their efforts. One was forced into retirement. Once when an umpire penalised Muralitharan, the (asshole) captain of Sri Lanka led his team from the field, then engaged lawyers to overide the cricket authorities.

The issue has split world cricket. Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan will protect Muralitharan and will refuse to accept a judgement that will ban him. The other countries have had to accept this, even though many feel that it is a travesty in the sport.

Australia are currently playing Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, and (last time I checked the scoreboard) were getting punished by Muralitharan.

Hope this explanation is (basically) correct.

Posted by: Tom at March 11, 2004 at 11:08 AM

Cricket's administrators have now painted themselves into a corner over this issue.

We are left with the likely situation where a chucker will be the highest wicket taker in the history of the game.

Posted by: Greg at March 11, 2004 at 01:08 PM

Disclaimer: I am a Yank, and have watched a lot of cricket by Yank standards, having been in Australia a few times during my Navy days, but I have never played it, and so I am probably full of crap. I have also never seen Murali's bowling action.

However...I do have an arm that does not straighten. There is a point in the bowling action where the arm rotates in the shoulder socket (unless it's a googly, if I understand how to deliver a googly properly). If you only have a side view camera angle, when the arm rotates, it will appear to go from bent one way, to straight, to bent the other way. I know that most of the slow-motion replays of bowlers I have seen are from the side, because that's normally how you tell if they are chucking, or how you see if they foot-fault, etc, but if your arm is permanently bent, you have to have two simulaneous replays from different angles to show that it's rotating, not straightening.

Mind you, bowling is an incredibly unnatural way to move your arm, and I don't think I could do it without chucking, but I don't do it for a living, now, do I?

Posted by: Steve Sandvik at March 11, 2004 at 01:39 PM

It was indeed, Slatts....

Posted by: Tony.T at March 11, 2004 at 02:03 PM

Not being able to 'No Ball' a chucker for each chuck has to be one of the biggest cop-outs in sport. It is almost as bad as those sports that don't do out of competition drug testing, like baseball.

Posted by: Razor at March 11, 2004 at 04:25 PM

I remember a few years back, a guy called John Lomax, (a Canberra raiders rugby league player who never saw a head he could not decapitate) was suspended from the grand final. During that week a biomechanic was employed to "prove" his innocence. His "proof" consisted of him showing one stick figure gently ankle tapping another stick figure. The stick figures were supposed to represent Lomax and the guy he tackled. The video of the actual incident showed Lomax decapitating the other player. However, because the biomechanic had a PhD, the tribunal were supposed to ignore reality, and look at the stick figures on a computer. Fortunately the tribunal ignored it, but biomechanics are constantly used to get people out of suspensions in footy (all codes). The one thing that is common to all of these biomechanics is that they are all dickheads. The fact that a biomechanic has cleared Murali is to me more evidence that he has something to hide. Other "proofs" of Muralis innocence involve him handing the media 5 minute videos of him bowling legally in the nets. That would have to be the single most stupid evidence I have ever imagined. It is like Charles Manson using a 5 minute video tape of him not organizing a mass murder, to prove that he never committed a crime. In fact every piece of evidence ever proffered by Murali of his innocence runs along the same lines. The only thing that matters is when he comes up to bowl in a game does he chuck. Getting a biomechanic to say he cannot straighten his arm is ridiculous, are people saying that he has never chucked the ball in from the outfield? I am pretty sure he has.

Posted by: ponting for PM at March 11, 2004 at 04:32 PM

-Just watch the man "bowl"-

Tim, you left out the rest of that sentence. Should read;
"Just watch the man bowl Australia out next test."

Posted by: JSF at March 12, 2004 at 01:54 AM

Yeah, right, JSF you dork

8 for 542 declared.

*snork snork hmmmph*

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at March 12, 2004 at 11:24 AM