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

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Selectors in a spin

It may be narrow discussion but it feels right. We've seen an all-out leggie in Capetown, the first since you know who (sir), so with several spinners tried in a year I reckon it warrants debate.

Has Australian cricket been preoccupied with spin bowling because of who bowled hand grenades for a decade or so? I sense some impossible gap-filling going on. Hilditch made comments about the role of spin bowling in Australia's test team, before Capetown, which placed it secondary to pitch conditions. This may seem innocuous as the 11th position at the WACA is unlikely to be taken by a spinner if they can't bat! But Hilditch also ensured the media was clear about his decisions in lineup being justified by Durban and Jo'berg. Self-righteous bollocks! But perhaps hooker is understating the role of spin bowling in Aus' test team because he's not sure there really is any for the long haul.

I think Aus has reached a spin recession though. This is why I hate what Warne has done to cricket. He's set the bar for spin capacities outside the reach of the current proponents of bowling magic. I'm sure the inner desire for gentle flighted drift followed by 60 degree turn is dreamed of by many of us. But we 'ain't getting that from Hauritz, Krejza, White, Casson (!) - maybe McGain but I want to be more positive - or any tried bowlers wearing the baggy green.

During the Perth test against South Africa Justin Langer commented on the respect generated from being selected to play for Australia. By selection you were equal. Someone had believed you were good enough to represent Aus so you must be ok. Unless you're Muller.
I don't think 'frontline' (what the hell does that mean) spinners have been picked judged against this sort of selection process since SK left through the back door. This isn't to say that none of the spinners afore mentioned are not good enough to play for Australia. It's just that they don't seem to be great at picking up wickets and/or slowing the runs over a series. This doesn't just refer to the SCG or all-of India, but quicker or bouncier pitches. You're picked to tour or play at home because you'll regularly contribute.

It's not just Warne that has bamboozled batsmen - though certainly very few have dominated so consistently - but Murali, 'Bahji', Mendis (yeah I know Stoph; looked him up), Harris (maybe worth a post alone) and others get results as out-and-out spinners. While chucker hasn't had great success in Aus there's not many other places he hasn't. Even aside from local pitches and a culture that encourages slow bowling, many spinners bowl well - through containment, tempo change or striking with wickets - on a variety of surfaces.

From looking at the current 11, 12 or 13 blokes hovering around the Aus team, I reckon from Katich, Clarke or North spin overs should come. Unless selectors can resist window shopping at spinners: trying them on and returing them damaged. Even though Krejza appears destined for a certain heap, 12 wickets in a test are unlikely to be entirely fluked. But he's gone. Maybe forever.

I guess there's Dan Cullen, the other Cullen, maybe David Hussey?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Ashes await....

And so we move on to the next phase of the Australian cricket team’s journey. Cricket, like life goes on. Each series is analysed to death and then forgotten as the next series invades our consciousness, papers and TV screens. And what a series it promises to be, like every Ashes. Australia’s disgraceful pounding in the final test in South Africa raised many questions which cannot simply be explained away by the “dead rubber” syndrome that has many supporters and knockers on this forum.

Bryce McGain had probably the most to play for in either team and has probably played his last test. As happy as he was to receive his baggy green in the grand scheme of things it will turn out to be unfortunate. South Africa were able to throw caution to the wind having already lost the series and what better victim than the debutant leggie? Even the great S K Warne had a shocker of a debut, but not comparable to McGain’s. Perhaps McGain could have been backed by more defensive field settings when it became obvious the Proteas were going after him but he was not alone in the punishment and Ponting had been criticised for that very thing in Australia.

Hussey must now spend the next few months agonising over a career on the wane. He may just be saved for the Ashes if only through his vast experience on Pommie decks but his reprieve will be short lived if he fails early. We all know how many batsmen we have waiting in the wings.

McDonald for me is on borrowed time as well. Hardly a revelation in SA, his bowling is not penetrating enough. I would love to see the Australian selectors bite the bullet and declare Mitch Johnson our all rounder and choose another batsmen or bowler as the situation demanded. He is clearly good enough as demonstrated by his master class to all the “batsmen” in the Australian team on Sunday night. His technique is superb and he strikes the ball so cleanly. Small English grounds will not contain him. Timid English bowlers will be punished.

Hughes is a gun but needs to rein it in when he has to. It will not take bowlers long to identify his problem areas and bowl to them. He will be retained for the Ashes but needs to be patient on swinging decks in Notubland.

I can’t see another cracking series like 2005 or a flogging like 2006. I am predicting 3-1 to the Aussies with a draw thrown in there after the first or second test due to bad weather/light.