In a previous post, I asked who this man was, and why he was the South African captain, given his short career. A little digging, and a much more controversial picture cameto the fore: Botha was under the spotlight twice for his illegal delivery action, after he had moved from seam to spin. He was eventually cleared, but I wonder why the Australian public was so forgiving during the ODI series. I didn’t hear any cheerful cries of “No ball!” when he ran to the crease, even though those are regular occurrences when a certain Muttiah Muralitharan shows up at an Australian pitch.
Let’s get one thing clear though: Muralitharan was never conclusively found to be “chucking.” He was cleared twice in the 1990s, and in 2004, when his doosra came under the spotlight, the ICC found that all bowlers — even the great Glenn McGrath — were bending their arms over the 5-degree limit then in place.
What separates Botha from Muralitharan? Admittedly, a lot: Botha is nowhere near as good as Muralitharan, who holds the Test record for wickets, and is on the cusp of the ODI one. Muralitharan was also charged by one Darrell Hair, who had a loyal following in Australia. But take a look at what Botha’s action used to look like. My word, look at that arm bend!