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Home > Cricket > Reuters > Report

Australian crowds unfair, says Muralitharan

January 16, 2003 16:35 IST

Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, called for throwing on two previous tours to Australia, has expressed his frustration at ongoing taunts from local crowds.

Muralitharan, third on the all-time list of wicket-takers in Tests and one-day internationals, bowls with an unusual action and was no-balled for "throwing" by umpires in Australia on the 1995-96 and 1998-99 tours.

His action has since been cleared by world governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"They (Australian crowds) should keep their mouths shut," Muralitharan told the Australian Associated Press on Thursday.

"I thought it might have been better this time but people still say things like 'chucker'. That's not fair to say because I have been proved not to be.

"The crowd should realise that and if it's going on like that I might not be able to come and play here anymore. It's okayonce or twice but it's been going on for seven years."

Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya moved him away from his fielding position on the boundary during Wednesday's triangular one-day series game against Australia in Brisbane because of the crowd's behaviour, the spinner said.

Muralitharan, rated last month by cricket bible Wisden as the best bowler in Test history, moved up to third on the one-day internationals list with a four-wicket haul in Wednesday's match.

The 30-year-old, who has taken 304 one-day wickets, hurt a quadricep muscle in his left thigh during the game.

However, he is expected to be fit for next month's World Cup in South Africa and Zimbabwe and maybe even next week's finals of the triangular series, provided Sri Lanka go through at England's expense.


Australia fast bowler Brett Lee, whose action has also been questioned and cleared, was the subject of taunts from England supporters during the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne last month.

"If some people are saying that to Brett Lee it's said to be disappointing but, if it's me, it's something different," said Muralitharan, who has taken 437 Test wickets.

"They were laughing when I got injured last night. When some other players get injured they would never laugh."

Sri Lanka play England in Adelaide on Friday but Muralitharan will be rested.

"I'm hoping if everything goes well and if we win tomorrow, then I will be able to play if we make the finals," Muralitharan said. "It's a little bit sore."

Muralitharan missed the first half of the series last month because of a hernia operation.

"I couldn't do strength training because of the hernia and maybe that's why I was injured last night," he said.

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