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'Lots of nations will soon have chuckers'

Faisal Shariff in Peshawar | March 18, 2004 14:00 IST

Former Pakistan skipper Mushtaq Mohammad has questioned the bowling action of Sri Lankan off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan and Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar.

"Murali's action is very suspect," Mushtaq told rediff.com "People around the world are copying his action. The ball, which leaves right-handed batsmen, cannot be bowled without jerking or straightening the arm. You just cannot bowl that ball with the off-spinner's grip. Technically, it is not a fair delivery. You can only bowl that ball if you open up your shoulders or jerk it. From 22 yards, with an off-spinner's grip you just can't turn the ball."

Mushtaq, a leg-spinner himself, warned against the danger of creating a generation of chuckers.

"There are half-a-dozen chuckers in international cricket. But no one has the guts to stop them. Lots of nations will soon have chuckers," he said.

Asked if Akhtar's action was also suspect, he said, "Of course. Someone has to draw the line and judge his action. Anyone who is called for a suspect action is sent for a week to rectify his action and allowed to play international cricket again. It is unfair to batsman who get out facing these bowlers."

According to a report on Cricinfo, Bruce Elliott, a professor at the University of Western Australia and a member of the International Cricket Council's committee which investigates suspect actions, has also questioned Murali's latest doosra. Elliot was the same person who had cleared Murali's action five years ago.

The Sri Lankan spinner achieved the 500 Test wickets milestone this week and said he plans to play till 2007 so that he can take at least 650 wickets.

Former Australia skipper Bobby Simpson has also criticised bowlers with suspect actions.

"The decision by the ICC to allow boards to decide the fate of the bowlers was ludicrous. It is obvious they will defend their players' actions. I therefore resigned from the ICC legal action committee," he told rediff.com

Simpson said he had not heard of any player with a physical deformity being allowed to play in any other sport. Murali has claimed he has a physical deformity, which allow him to bowl the way he does. 

So why cricket, ask Simpson. And how could the same players who can't straighten their arms hurl the ball from the boundary right into the wicketkeeper's gloves?

Simpson dismissed these players as a bunch of javelin bowlers and blamed the ICC for misunderstanding the mechanics of chucking.

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