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Murali undergoes new tests

The reports, and ongoing taunts from Australian crowds who constantly chant "no ball", prompted the off-spinner to clear his name.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 17:20 IST

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan revealed onSaturday that he had undergone a new battery of scientific tests to prove to Australian crowds once and for all that he does not "chuck".

The beleaguered Muralitharan called a press conference with experts in human movement from the University of Western Australia, who supported his claims that his bowling action was legal.

Sitting alongside team manager Michael Tissera and UWA scientists Bruce Elliott and Jacqueline Alderson, Muralitharan said he was baffled why Australian crowds refused to accept him as a legitimate bowler.

"I've have gone to tests again ... and still people are trying to bully me in a way," he said.

"Every time I bowl they shout it from the grounds, every time I go near the boundary line they say things, that means they are not accepting me.

"Sometimes you feel 'Why do you want to come and play?'"

Muralitharan has been taunted by Australian crowds since he was first no-balled seven times during Sri Lanka's Boxing Day Test against Australia in Melbourne in 1995.

Since then he has been checked and cleared four times by the experts at UWA, who carry out testing on behalf of the International Cricket Council.

He said that over the last 11 years he had undergone more testing than almost any bowler, but for some reason he was not respected in Australia.

The problems were not racial, he said, although South Africa's players have complained of racists slurs during their tour here.

But he said Australia was the only country where the issue arose.

"It happens mostly, you could say 99 percent in Australia rather than any other country I have been to," he said.

"Every country ... England, South Africa .. everywhere, people respect me. They enjoy my bowling and they enjoy the cricket."

Local media reports last week claimed Muralitharan's action was again under question, noting that he was bowling more than 20 kilometres per hour (12.5 miles per hour) faster than when he was tested by UWA in 2004.

The reports, and ongoing taunts from Australian crowds who constantly chant "no ball", prompted the off-spinner to clear his name.

The latest tests, carried out last on Thursday, show that even bowling at faster speeds, both Muralitharan's controversial "doosra" and his offbreak deliveries complied with the rules.

His average elbow extension while bowling the doosra at an average of 86.5 kph was 12.2 degrees, well within the 15 degrees allowed by the ICC under current rules. The average for his offbreak was 12.9 degrees at 95 kph.

"There's nothing more he could do," Elliott said.

"The latest testing shows, irrespective of whether he's bowling a doosra or an off-break, all his deliveries were under 15 degrees, so none were illegal."

The professor said Muralitharan was bowling faster because he had undergone shoulder surgery since 2004.

Sri Lanka are clearly fed up and Muralitharan's feelings became evident in Perth last week when he was photographed making a one-finger gesture to a supporter who had "no ball" written across his chest.

He has drawn an unofficial reprimand for the action.

"I've been to every country, England, South Africa, everywhere. People respect me and enjoy my bowling and enjoy the cricket," Muralitharan said.

"Here I don't know what's happening."

Muralitharan, 33, has a glowing record as one of the world's best bowlers with 584 Test wickets and 406 limited-overs scalps to his credit.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 13:29 IST