Five Sturdy Men Who Saved Murali’s Doosra Innovation

Michael Roberts

Dr Barclay Reid, “Buddy Reid” in most minds, has this week related his role in medically examining Muralitharan’s peculiar physiognomy and clarifying the  process of mystification that led some Australian umpires to no-ball him in late 1995 as part of a process  — as they thought — of cleansing the cricket field of “throwers” (see

Jacqueline Alderson of UWA’s Technology team preparing Murali for a test as part of Foster’s team …

Muralitharan survived the initial assault** and continued to bemuse batsmen. He then upped the ante,” so to speak, by inventing the “doosra” delivery at the dawn of the twenty-first century. 

This generated fresh assaults on him as a “chucker.” It was at this point of time in 2002-03 or so that friends of Sri Lankan cricket moved to Murali’s defence.  The tale of five “backroom  boffins” and lovers of cricket who stepped forward and combined to save Murali at this point of time has been related by me in an article published in my cricket web-site in May 2017: viz., …. an essay that is a summary of an extended article covering the totality of threats to Murali in my book Incursions & Excursions in and Around Sri Lankan Cricket (Colombo, Vijitha Yapa Publications 2011.…ISBN 978-955-53198-0-5).

…. so here, then, I present these five individuals …. full frontal because they were (are) thinking men ready to fight for justice in the face of powerful forces in the cricket world.

 Daryl Foster of the University of Western Australia’s Technology Department and Cricket coach at one point for Kent.

 Dr Mandeep Dhillon of the Apollo Hospital in Colombo

 Mahinda Wijesinghe, a retired cricketer and a cricketing aficianados in Colombo

 Kushil Gunasekera of FOG in Seeniagma and a cricekt adminstrator at one time for the BCCSL



Glucka Wijesuriya, a cricketing aficianados and in England and a staunch friend of cricketing teams when they toured that land.



ADDITIONAL NOTE by Michael Roberts, 23 December 2022

Though there were some continuities in prejudice and source of animus, there were three different stages in the assaults on Murali’s skills: (A) December 1995–February 1996; (B) January 1999 beginning with the no-balling of emerson at Adelaide; and (C) after Muralitharan unveilled and wielded the “doosra” so effectively from circa 2001.

This article above is about the steps taken during the claims of chucking at Stage III. Ravi Goonetilleke’s useful intervention was in January-Februaary 1996 and was  a factor of some inportance (albeit not necessarily decisive during STAGE ONE).

I was aware of his work in Hong Kong via information supplied by one his aides named “Dagobert” and have referred to this set of measures in my article “Saving Murali: Action On-field and Off-Field, 1995-2005,” which has been presented in Roberts, Incursions & Excursions in and around Sri Lankan Cricket, Colombo, Yapa Publications, 20110, pp. 111-39 …. a book which even presents Dr Ravi Goonetilleke’s graphic chart of Murali’s arm-action (as Fig 23a).

Whatever the medical merits of this work, I speculate that Dr Gooneilleke’s identity as a Sri Lankan was probably a disadvantage in the corridors of Australian and ICC power; and that the work done by Foster, Bruce Elliott and the UWA team may have exercised a greatear impact in 1996  …. though never to the extent of dissuading the adamantine chucker-believers in high-placed Australian and ICC circles — a force that re-emerged in early 1998 and continued to remain as a thread in vocal cricket quarters.

“Dickie Bird” — see his caustic comment of yesterday — needs to re-examine his reasoning (and let me stress that I am not going to participate in any slanging match).




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2 responses to “Five Sturdy Men Who Saved Murali’s Doosra Innovation

  1. dickie bird

    Heading is throughly misleading.
    These men have had a hand. But the unsung hero in Murali’s chucking episode is none other than Prof. Ravindra Goonetilleke. Then Professor on Ergonomics at the University of Science & Technology [USTHK] Hong Kong attached to the Industrial Engineering Department.
    He was intrumental in establishing the lab & getting down necessary equipment for it. He has excellent proven credentials to his name.
    When Murali was called for chucking, on their way back to SL via HK, Murali was to break journey in HK for his action to be tested. Murali was housed at the Professor Gunatilleke’s home for almost a week and his bowling action was tested by Prof. Ravi Goonetilleke assisted by his team.
    With delicate sensors & sensitive equipment (Not freely available) attached to Murali and he had to undergo gruelling sessions on his bowling variations to the extent of Murali’s breaking point..
    Finally, the long and short of it, with exhaustive work, Prof. Ravi Goonetilleke was able to establish & challenged the ICC and ready to prove to the world Murali was not a “CHUCKER”.
    This is when ICC laws were shaken and the subsequent changes to elbow laws which is now history.
    Many are the claimants for Murali’s success.
    Later, even Darryl Foster had obtain the approval from Prof. Goonetilleke to use his photographic material at later tests conducted by the University of WA.
    Ironically, nobody has todate cared to read or get a copy or refer to this research report on “Murali’s chucking saga” which is patent and filed in the ERGONOMICS JOURNAL IN ENGLAND.
    Here, I disclose this unsung hero, Prof. Ravindra Stephen Goonetilleke has since retired from USTHK and now attached to a Uni in Abu Dhabi.
    I hope Micheal Roberts an Academic & a Jurno of par excellence will know where to look for this report after over (02) decades & highlight the scientefic work conducted on Murali’s action & how Murali’s career came to be saved.
    This great son of Sri Lanka, who comes from a distiguish family of academics, is a fellow of the Ergonomics fraternity of the USA. This Investigative Research was conducted at no cost to anyone.

  2. Lam Seneviratne

    Thank you Dickie Bird, you are absolutely right about the part played by Prof Ravindra Goonetillekae.

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