March 29, 2004


You think Australian cricketers are tough on their opponents? Just ask former Indian Test player Atul Wassan about the Pakistanis:

Interviewer: Have you ever faced the famous Pak sledging?

Wassan: Yeah. They are brash and bullheaded. Comments like, "I will murder you" are very common. Being a thorough Punjabi, I have given it right back to them. One of my famous tiffs was with Martin Crowe and Mark Greatbatch of New Zealand. However, I would prefer not to disclose what kind of words were exchanged.

Wassan also has strong opinions about Muttiah Murilitharan, who has just been cited for chucking:

Murali was reported by match referee Chris Broad during the final day of the third Test, which Australia won by 121 to take an historic 3-0 clean sweep of the series.

Reading from a written statement Broad said his report relates only to Murali's new delivery, the "doosra", which turns away from the right-handed batsman.

"The concern is that this ball may be delivered with an action that is not in accordance with the laws of the game," Broad said.

"Accordingly I have submitted this report for further investigation.

"In making this report I would like to emphasis it relates to this new delivery only."

Murilitharanís been sending down this garbage during the whole series, and they only report him when itís over. Fun backyard experiment for the cricket-aware: try getting something (a tennis ball, say) to break left using an offspinnerís action. Itís surprisingly easy ... if you throw it.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 29, 2004 03:51 AM

Ahhh, progress. Insults on the sports field instead of the battle field.

Posted by: Sandy P. at March 29, 2004 at 05:22 AM

"The concern is that this ball may be delivered with an action that is not in accordance with the laws of the game," Broad said.

Hmm, in American baseball we've had the controversy over doctoring baseballs. Vaseline on the edge of the hat or somewhere on the body. One guy got caught with a fingernail file in his pants. He'd scuff the ball and then make the dammed thing drop and swerve. Nasty stuff at 90+ MPH darting and dropping.

And bats (guy have been caught "corking" them, one guy used to put mini superballs in them).

Sidebar: I see where Chris Snelling is hurt again. I think it was a leg injury or ankle. Every time he looks like he's ready for "The Show", he gets nicked. Still a top prospect for Seattle but time is catching up to him.


Posted by: SteveMG at March 29, 2004 at 05:24 AM

God, I love it when you Aussie guys talk dirty...

oh! that was about sports? My bad.

Posted by: geezer at March 29, 2004 at 06:04 AM

One guess how long Murali would have lasted if he'd been an Australian, English or New Zealand player. PC is alive and well in the ICC.
How much that he gets off again?

Posted by: Richard at March 29, 2004 at 06:39 AM

Dumb question.

If you aren't 'throwing it' what are you doing with it?

Posted by: CujoQuarrel at March 29, 2004 at 07:48 AM

Bowling, Cujo. In the U.S. you pitch, you don't throw and the two are distinguishable.

Posted by: Helen at March 29, 2004 at 09:40 AM

All this talk of cricket confuses and frightens me! I don't understand your strange ways. I'm just an unfrozen caveman!

Posted by: Sortelli at March 29, 2004 at 10:03 AM

A person like Murali who chucks has two big advantages over someone who bowls.
He gets more spin and kick off the pitch.
He is cheating.
Another giveaway is that he doesn't swerve the ball away in the air. offspin chuckers can't only offspin bowlers can.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at March 29, 2004 at 10:42 AM

Most of the Aussie batsmen had little trouble picking Muriliís dusra out of his hand, not off the pitch as the article says. Tailenders could not pick it but batsmen, Lehmann and Hayden in particular, took the long handle to him.

A lot of his wickets were either batsmen who hade made big scores and were looking to belt him, or tailenders. That wonít win you tests.

Posted by: matt at March 29, 2004 at 11:26 AM

Further to Cujo's question, when a pitcher delivers a basball, his arm is not straight; it bends at the elbow. This is not the case in cricket.

Posted by: Dave at March 29, 2004 at 12:12 PM

Even more ridiculous is the way the rules on suspect actions are being applied. Umpires cannot 'No-ball' a bowler if they believe he is chucking. The umpires must wait for the end of the day's play and prepare a report and pass it to the match referee who then passes it on to the ICC if he belives it is necessary. If the ICC deems it necessary, the bowler then undergoes analysis of his action and possibly counselling and training to 'legtimise' it as was the case with Shaoib Akhtar several years ago.

As the rules stand any fast bowler could run to the crease and hurl the ball with elbow bent at pace in the direction of the batsmen and the umpire could do nothing about it. The ball would be deemed legitimate and the batsman could be dismissed if bowled, lbw, caught, stumped etc.

I still don't know about Muralitharan. I've watched his action numerous times and can't say for sure that he is chucking. This latest referral to the ICC will only serve to widen the gap between the established and emerging cricketing nations. The Lankans will believe their boy has been nobbled and put off the race to become the world's leading wicket taker. Expect howls of outrage directed at cricket's first world from Sri Lankan cricket. They'll also be falling over themselves to express love and support for the off spinner.

Funny, if Murali couldn't bowl at all, the Lankans wouldn't give a damn about him. He is, of course, a Tamil.

Posted by: Jack Hoysted at March 29, 2004 at 12:22 PM

I'm just an unfrozen caveman!

Do you also play center field for the Boston Red Sox?

Posted by: Mork at March 29, 2004 at 01:01 PM

TO: Tim Blair
RE: Sounds Like...'re crickteers have the same problem as our hockey players....a lack of discipline compounded by bad manners.

Not to mention a disrespect for other human beings.

Get a grip....



Posted by: Chuck Pelto at March 29, 2004 at 01:30 PM

I liked the suggestion here that the install pitchers mounds at each end of the pitch for Murali.. Then again, I would.

Posted by: attila at March 29, 2004 at 01:34 PM

You aren't going to get away with it, you Aussie sledging maniacs. Graeme Smith reports that when he arrived at the crease in his first test, Brett Lee greeted him thus: "Today I'm going to kill you."

The only difference between Brett Lee and Shoaib Akhtar is that Shoiab is quicker.

Posted by: Dave F at March 29, 2004 at 07:39 PM

You can deliver a ball with your arm bent at the elbow. A lot of spinners do. The no-ball is if, at the point of delivery, you flex the wrist and/or elbow. Murali is allowed to do it because he says his arm is "permanently" bent and therefore he isn't flexing to chuck it.
I imagine his dusra must involve a certain suspect amount of wrist action.

Posted by: Dave F at March 29, 2004 at 07:44 PM


Posted by: Le clerc at March 29, 2004 at 09:13 PM

As a Kent County supporter and Texas Rangers fan (sigh), I can say with some authority that what makes cricket a better game is the parity between bowler and batsman. (In baseball, after all, you're doing very well if you get a hit 1/3 of the times you're at bat...risible in cricket where 10 or 20 runs for every at bat is common and a "duck" [strikeout] rare.)

Murali (deformed or not) is upsetting this balance and should be banned from the game before he inspires athletic surgery designed to freeze elbows in unextended positions.

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at March 30, 2004 at 12:31 AM

not sure how we got to Baseball when the comments were about cricket - but there you go. At least cricket can be more legitimately considered a "world game" compared to Baseball. After all, the "World Series" only include US teams (perhaps a token Canadian team as well).

Still, it is amusing trying to explain cricket to an American.....The game lasts 5 days, with 6 hours play in a day, and it can end in a draw....I just love the blank look ;)

Posted by: PatD at March 30, 2004 at 02:09 PM