Saturday, 28 March 2009

Murali has a bent arm: his supporters a bent perspective!

The following is a copy of most of a debate i have been having on an non-professional sports journalism site called the Bleacher Report.

It started because a "writer" -who is only trying to drum up traffic for his blog- had pasted across his list of who's the greatest players and why with Murali as the greatest bowler; clearly i could not let that one go through.

The result was typical fanatical sub-continental support, including the inability to come up with any sort of response to my points other than, "the ICC has cleared Murali!"

There is also a video linked to the 2nd last post of Murali bowling with a cast on. If anyone still has respect for Michael Slater and his soul-selling after watching...
i always wondered how Murali would bowl with some sort of device to restrict his straightening; now i know: it is exactly the same as his action when he did the biomechanical tests in Perth, ie- he changed it to suit his need to attain a pass. It is also evident he has lost HEAPS of control as it puts him more side on! You can be the judges on that one.

feel free to respond directly at:

Muttiah Muralitharan: No. 1 Bowler of All Time

Murali is without doubt the greatest off-spinner of all time, and, according to me, the greatest bowler of all time.

On an unspectacular Sri Lankan side, he has taken 735 wickets in Test matches and 503 wickets in ODI matches, which is more than anyone else.

He has also highest ODI wickets

His highest average in all forms of the game is 23.00, in ODI, and he has a 19.06 average in first-class, having recorded well over 1,000 wickets.

His most potent weapon is perhaps his infamous doosra—which no one has been able to master like he has.

sorry to say Pranav, but your opening line is wrong. There is a doubt as to whether Murali is the greatest off-spinner of all time; the doubt lies with his action, which will always include an asterisk next to his name in the record books.

Astute observers know that Murali changes his action when doing his biomechanical test- evident by his lack of accuracy, spin and affected flight. It was also easy to see that he came around a lot more in his action during tests than he does in games where he leads with the elbow more so that he can flick his arm forward more. This is the main fault in his action; not, as is often claimed that he bowls with a bent arm. It is not the bend that is wrong, it is the straightening on delivery. I doubt he would be at all effective if he maintained his bent elbow on release!

Murali 's desire to improve his lot in life early in his career is understandable- though it is unacceptable that he was prepared to cheat and disregard this great game- but the real villian is the ICC. They were to gutless to stand up and say, "he chucks! if he can stop, he is welcome to play (as he is a fine competitor), but his action is outside the rules!"
instead, they bowed to a union of the sub-continent that was manipulated by Sri Lanka under the guise of rasicm.

Now, the game has been tarnished FOREVER!

I ask you to view the footage from the Perth Biomechanical tests available on youtube and compare his action to game footage; if you can't see the differance, then your desire to hold Murali in this high esteem has outweighed your objectivness.

stoph verismo
down the wicket


no need to YELL!
that is why i was criticle of the ICC, because THEY got it wrong when approving his action. And they approved it for political reasons, not cricketing; hence why they changed the degree of flex. he has been cleared, to the detriment of the game.

he has been cleared, but watch how many players come out after they and Murali retire and say they believe he chucks.

What a load of horse crap. There is no further doubt in his action. There was a doubt and numerous test have ALL cleared him. So there is no doubt.

Watch the video below and end your ignorance. Wisden, Bradman anything that matters in Cricket has stated he is the greatest. A few clowns in cricket claims he chucks.

Thank you Seth, with this video you helped alleviated my last doubt- the one where i said, "I wonder if he still had the same action if he had a cast or some elbow restrictive device on?"
Now, thanks to your video, i KNOW i was right about Murali!

Dictionaries define IGNORANCE as a: Lack of knowledge, or awareness. So your declaration of my ignorance thankfully only shows up yours. As i am open minded to that which is outside of what is presented to me by the popular media... most likely due to the fact i have studied the means and manipulations of the modern media; clearly something you have been easily manipulated by!

In other words, i am able to make a judgement based on the FACTS presented to me, not the media hype; and all of its subversive manipulations! It's ok, most people are happy to accept what they are told in the media to be true; you are not exceptional in this; or your understanding of cricket!

So, in regard to your "conclusive" video that shows me to be ignorant and spouting "horse crap" (thanks for reinforcing your argument with such a technical term that offers nothing and only diminishes your credibility):
Let’s start with the media representation of this video.
Both the presenter and Slater showed NO neutrality or unbiased delivery in their presentation, (their agenda was obvious from the start!). In fact the presenter was positively gushing in his praise of Murali and the "proof" before the viewer had a chance to make their own mind up. A clear sign of his bias before the "proof". In real media terms, this amounts to nothing more than editorial, which is not a true representation of fact; only one persons opinion!
If Wisden is something that matters to you, why did they pick Warne over Murali in their 5 cricketers of the century when Murali was so close on the record tally, and it was clear that he would overtake Warne in his eventual tally. Why? Because they didn't have faith in Murali as a "real" cricketer, and for fear that in time, sense will prevail and he will be seen as a product of threats by the Asian block... once again, he is only there because the ICC changed the rules to include him!
By the way, why does the rest of the subcontinent feel the need to get on board and push for legitimising Murali? it comes across as paranoia and smacks of pushing a further agenda, and looks very poor for every country apart from (well, including!) Sri Lanka.

As for Bradman; his connections to the ACB/CA were still too close so his opinion counts for nothing, as CA doesn't want to say anything against Murali for fear of being considered recalcitrant and receiving a slap on the wrist from the ICC.
Talking of the ICC, remember that the ICC changed the rules to accommodate Murali; proof that something was wrong in the first place and my biggest complaint: lowering the standard to the Lowest Common Denominator, something that has diluted the integrity and quality of the game for the future.

So as for Murali; yes it was very "brave" of him to wear a cast for the testing: although completely less relevant given the cameras didn't scrutinise his grip on release- i bowl leggies, but if i bowl offies, i can still make it turn the "other way" by flicking in a carrom ball. So proof that he can still bowl a doosra with the cast is made redundant! More redundant by the fact that even allowing for the effect of the cast weight (the only reason i said he was "brave" -not for trying to prove he was legit!) and the restriction the cast has on his natural run up and early action, it is PLAIN TO SEE that Murali is bowling with a different action... so you only show yourself up to be ignorant if you are unable to see that!
His upper body and following shoulder is so much more side on that he looks like a traditional offie!

The presenter showing that he could not straighten Murali’s arm means nothing too. The world understands and is accepting of his elbow condition/defect; regardless, anyone could replicate that “test”, the strongest man at my gym could not straighten mine in the same way when we “tested” in the same fashion. Also, I asked several people to turn their palm out in the same way that the video had the doctor do for Murali and we could all do it to look the same with little or no shoulder discomfort. So I don’t know what that proved with Murali; It only comes across as another excuse contrived by Murali’s supporters to shut down the ever present doubt and disbelief in his legitimacy- sounds like the fable of the Emperors new clothes!

And now we have to address the inclusion of M.Slater in this debate. Slater has been very active in developing a media career and profile over the last 5 or so years, so the fact he got on board here only shows that he would do and say pretty much anything to increase his exposure. It is also beyond ridicules to say that by having him face up to Murali it is replicating match conditions. That would imply that every time someone faces a ball it is “in match conditions”. Even given that the cast would inhibit Murali’s ability –I accept that it obviously must- Murali looked very non-threatening and Slater who has now been out of international cricket for years looked relaxed facing up; much more than someone in “match conditions!”

In closing, I stand by my statement that MANY people from players and commentators WILL come forward in the years following Murali’s retirement. Players must wait until they have no further connections to their national boards for fear of penalty from the ICC; commentators will be in the same position until they deem themselves untouchable by the ICC or their media owners. It is sad really that they are controlled in such a way that they cannot talk out about the greatest blight on the game since Bodyline. And as you said Seth, anyone that speaks out is labelled a clown; not much of a way to debate and typical of people that have reason to be defensive! The evidence is in comparison- action in test conditions, action in a match. That is definitive!

Stoph verismo


  1. Another round of horse crap..Wait let me guess..Are you Australian????

    Ha ha! No surprises there! When will you lot grow up?

    Try watching the video again before spending 3 paragraphs worth of worthless rubbish explaining what ignorance is.

  2. ICC changed the rules to accommodate Murali? Do you believe elvis is alive?

    Who asked the ICC to change the laws?

    Watch this

  3. thank you for responding Anon and Robert,
    given that both of your comments are much the same, i shall address them as one.

    Given that you thought it was either funny or smart to go with the "horse crap' line again, i'll disregard the fact that i had explained that any remarks that relied on lame crassness as a form of attack don't hold any merit and only further enforce your opinion as one lacking any substance (it was certainly a poor choice of words from modern crickets MOST fair player, Adam Gilchrist!). That said, ALL opinion is welcome as long as it is backed up with sound explanation... apart from the offering of the videos, neither of these two comments fill that criteria!

    What has being an Australian got to do with this discussion? When stated as above, it is nothing more than racist/nationalist rubbish; two things that will not be tolerated here. Support what you mean by such statements, or don't use them! Further to that Anon, did you deduce that through observational powers, or just read it in my bio on B/R or in the heading of this site? Wow, and to think you were able to "guess" it! Also, when does being questioning of a perceived irregularity constitute a need for growing up? I would think accepting everything unquestioningly is more childish!

    Why was my explanation of the media and its machinations worthless when it directly addressed the issue of ignorance; that which i was accused of being? Your response adds nothing as you have not given counterpoints to my argument and the best you could come up was "watch again", clearly i had watched it several times before writing my reply as i have so clearly analysed it for what it is- a contrivance! I'll state again: everyone is free to have an opinion, but unless you support it with something your opinion remains only your feelings on an issue, nothing more. It would seem it takes MORE than 3 paragraphs to help some people understand the ludicrous nature of their/others remarks!

    In regard to my comment that the ICC changed the rules to accommodate Murali, I will concede that that was not as well said as it should have been; better would have been: The Murali controversy instigated change from the ICC. And that is the facts, whether it allowed other bowlers more room or less scrutiny is a buy- (sic) -product of their rule changes. The truth is, because of the issue of Murali, something needed fixing. Certainly standardisation was required between bowling styles, but without a doubt the biggest benefactor has been Muralitharan.

    Further information left out of the supportive video when denying the rule change was a result of Murali’s action:
    “In 2004 the ICC stopped Murali from bowling the doosra, because his arm bent by an average of 10 degrees when bowling the delivery, which was double the permitted level for spinners. But next year, the ICC tweaked the bowling laws to allow all bowlers "to straighten their bowling arm up to 15 degrees, which was established as the point at which any straightening will become visible to the naked eye". Cricinfo 4/11/8

    And typically when media is being used to push a point only part of the information is presented, (another lesson in manipulation and selective presentation for the ignorant!) such as this being left out of the youtube video you supplied Robert quoting A.Gilchrist:
    “Gilchrist said Murali's doosra seemed to pass scrutiny without rigorous examination. "Often Australian players, having seen him bowl yet another suspect doosra past the outside edge, would look at each other in changing room and say: 'Wasn't that one meant to have been sorted out?'"
    So if we are to assume that Murali is a victimised saint and is nothing but open and honest and that he doesn’t change his action between testing and matches (a point none of you critics of me address), why is he so sneaky as to pitch (he doesn’t bowl!) doosra’s during the period he was told to stop? Or will your response to this be, “just more Australian victimisation!” Hardly the case when they didn’t speak up about it officially for fear of the Asian block wingers getting stroppy again and going to the ICC with walk out threats.

    And so who did ask the ICC to change the rules to suit Murali? I would say it started at this point:
    After Chris Broad reported Muttiah Muralitharan to the ICC because he thought his doosra was dodgy (or dodgier than his other deliveries), Murali was wired and measured by boffins in Australia. The subsequent report tells us that Murali seems to flex his arm through 14 degrees while bowling the doosra, which is nearly three times the chucking allowance for a spinner. After corrective coaching, according to extracts from the reports published in The Hindu, the degree of flexion was brought down to 10 degrees, still twice the permitted limit of tolerance for spinners. Despite this, the report recommends that he be allowed to bowl the doosra pending further investigations and research. Which leaves matters as clear as mud.

    The ICC has decided to ignore the scientists' recommendations. It has banned the doosra and put Murali on notice by making it clear that if he is called for bowling the doosra again he could be banned from international cricket for up to 12 months. "These current levels of tolerance are based on expert advice that suggests that, beyond a certain level, bowlers will gain an unfair advantage," Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief executive, said in a statement, explaining the ICC's position. Mukul Kesavan 20/6/4

    And so once again, I get back to my MAIN point, one unanswered; Murali is a chucker because he has deceived the cricketing world by being given an approval stamp in testing, he did this by subjecting himself cheerfully to multiple tests, to which everyone has said “he is a nice guy, and the perception of chucking is an optical illusion. Get over it and leave him alone!” I stand by my original point and ask people to view and compare his delivery and action between testing and matches.

  4. The facts are that Murali passed the testing and the ICC changed the degree of straightening. But none of that changes the fact that Murali continues to have a different bowling action on the field. Forget the testing done in sterile conditions. Anyone who looks at his action in real time cannot deny that he "chucks" it. If it wasn't for the fact he had developed such a high profile before anyone was brave enough to no ball him, he wouldn't be playing indoor cricket at Altona with that action. It gets worse the more tired he gets too. It's unfortunate that the two greatest bowler in history to this date are both cheats. One for an illegal action the other for illegal substances. The question has been asked as to who requested for the laws to be changed I put it forward that it was in the best interest of the ICC to justify Murali's action and it continues to be so.
    As for Murali being the greatest off spinner of all time, action aside, weight of wickets would seem to support this. But I think any comparison must also take into account the "test" sides he has accumulated a lot of those wickets against.
    And now I say to you "Anon", labeling a post on this site as "horse crap" and then offering no other supporting evidence except the nationality of the poster followed by links to studies by other people does nothing to demonstrate either your knowledge of this great game or your ability to sustain intelligent conversation.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Apologies for not posting for a while, bit busy....
    POTD to Stopher for his missive; As always, informative, accurate, incisive, and thought provoking.
    Its great to see some new faces around the place too, showing a ton of passion which is nice.
    My beef with the ICC is that after it relaxed the rules to allow Murali to play......they didn't ask Daryl Harper to come back.
    That means that Daryl Harper was correct in no-balling Murali (not for every delivery though, just the "chucks"). So where was the apology from the ICC? Where was the re-instatement?
    I think that the ICC had some pressure put on them to keep him out of the game.

  7. OS I hate to point out the obvious but I have a little OCD. I think you may mean Daryl Hair. He was in fact kept on as an umpire long enough to be involved in the Pakistan v England abandoned match.

  8. Kicking himself about THAT obvious stuff up i'm sure!

    ...but i'll take the compliments.

  9. thanks for your support, contribution and thoughts on this issue NL

  10. there was further posts on the Bleacher report, but the main protagonist seems to have lost motivation to berate me...

    another win for fair play, reason and respect for the tradition of the greatest game!

  11. So Embarrassed about the stuff up, I am sure you knew who I was talking about.
    I'm guessing it was the early hour and mixing the Murali calls with the ones of Chanderpaul and Tendulkar that was to blame....but this is all splitting Hairs.
    What is an OCD?

  12. OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In my case it is my inability to let others errors go unnoticed....
    It makes me feel like a big man.

  13. Well done Stoph - great debate and the evidence of a poor quality rebuttal is through the use of personal attacks.

    I agree that the ICC has to take responsibility for the clearing of Murali. It's a cricket dilemma in a way as I believe Murali has been great for the game and is a fine statesman for it. However, once you make allowances for individuals that are also law changes you bring into question the capacity for maintaining other rules that are in existance for all.

    Noone sought to outlaw leg side hots because Mark Waugh was great at them. It was the responsibility of opposing teams to bowl better. Why should we accommodate Murali's action because it would require effort for him to remodel it? England feared Bradman and challenged the sportsmanship of cricket by trying to win by attrition - ie knock every bloke out. This was deemed unacceptable and no more than 2 fielders are allowed to field behind square on the leg side to prevent 'negative' tactics.

    What I've never understood is the focus on Murali's inability to fully straighten his bowling arm. How does this have anything to do with it? The law is that you can't straighten your arm (by a certain degree?) in deivery. Surely this would mean if he has a naturally bent arm it simply stays bent in delivery. How does his 'special' arm enter the equation? Since his action was brought into question authorities seemed to seek ways to allow it. When all else failed the ICC just changed the rules. This spineless ethos has been evidenced by it's handling of Pakistan walking off the field after being challenged for ball tampering, and Bucknor being excluded for umpiring in Aus vs India in Aus last summer at India's request. Oh, and the handling of Harbajan's acid tongue.

    In summary, if there is any reason that Murali cannot physically bowl legally - I am yet to hear/see it as irrespective of his inability to fully straighten his arm, I fail to see how this prevents him maintaining the same arc at his elbow to release the ball.

  14. There's a point about Wisden preferring/voting Warne as the best bowler ever and the inference is that the decision might have been coloured by the fact that deep down the people at Wisden believe that Murali is a chucker? Perhaps not - it could be that they simply recognise that Wrist Spin bowling is far more complex and skillful than it's little cousin Offspin?

  15. welcome aboard MPA, thanks for commenting.

    i actually agree with you about Wisden; i too believe their decision was motivated by the degree of difficulty legspen requires to be an effective weapon in cricket. the fact Warne was able to be so feared and such a match turner/winner bowling the hardest craft is what is truly represented by his inclusion.

    i wouldn't be surprised if someone from Wisden came out in the distant future and support what i said, but the reality is i did compose that angle purely as a response to the referance of Wisden supporting Murali.
    thanks again for contributing with a valid point. :)

    stoph verismo

  16. Warne used a mix of drift, huge spin and incredible doubt in the batsmen's mind to fashion his wickets. Every batsmen had that lurking fear that the next ball could be the Gatting ball. Add that to a genius cricketing brain and the ability to continuously land it on the spot and he is hands down the best spinner ever. It wasn't just the amount of wickets he took that made him so extraordinary it was also his penchant for making quality batsmen look like tailenders.