Chucking the Murali Debate

No, no, I don’t want to begin another interminably fractious argument about whether Muralidaran throws the ball or not. For my Australian readers — all of one “Uncle J Rod” — I imagine that debate was long ago settled by Messrs. Emerson and Hair, but I’m sure there’s plenty of evidence to go all round on YouTube for both sides. (Actually, come to think of it, there are three sides to this debate: 1) He’s legal, buzz off; 2) He’s illegal, so sod off; 3) He was illegal, but now he’s legal; even if he were illegal, he couldn’t help it because of his arm, so…shuffle off quietly?)

What I do want to address, however, are the commentators on the various channels, whose pronouncements on Murali’s innocence — while well-intentioned — paradoxically only undercut his innocence. So, during the latest series, Michael Slater and Ian Chappell will both say that they have no problem whatsoever with Murali’s action; Chappell, in fact, will even hint that Shane Warne’s action sometimes seemed suspect (gasp! not the god himself!). Or during last year’s series against England, David Gower and Nasser Hussain both insisted that, yes, Murali is great, and enough talk about chucking.

They all don’t seem to realize, of course, that by constantly bringing up the chucking issue — even if only to dismiss it — they are constantly adding the mental asterisk to Murali’s name. It’s like some horrible tic they cannot correct; they must repeat it like a mantra, “He does not chuck, he does not chuck.” But if he does not chuck, why must they say it every time?

I’m not saying that they do so because they unconsciously think that he does in fact throw the ball; Ian Chappell doesn’t really seem to have that multi-layered a mind. But if they all agree that there’s enough talk about his chucking, then actually end it all, and stop talking about his chucking! Actually, Chappell came closest to moving the debate on, when he suggested that it hardly matters if Murali chucks, because most of his bowling potency comes from his wrist, without which he would fail even with bended elbow. Well put.

Now let’s talk about Dharmasena, shall we?


2 thoughts on “Chucking the Murali Debate

  1. […] more often than not by skin color and race: Westerners must mention his bowling action (even if only to clear it), while Asians tend to leap to his defense early and often. In Sri Lanka, however, Muralitharan […]

  2. […] a pretty high standard, no? Since Muralidharan still faces criticism on his action, even though he’s been cleared over and over and over again, why isn’t it plausible to […]

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