Murali the ‘Chucker’ Now An Aussie Consultant

Malcolm Conn in Newscorp.Australia, dated 22 December 2022 … SEE… But Note the Thuppahi Note at the bottom

THE appointment of Muttiah Muralitharan as a spin bowling consultant by the Australian cricket team shows a huge philosophical shift in Australian cricket and the ruthless pragmatism of Darren Lehmann.

Previous Australian spin bowling coaches such as Terry Jenner and Ashley Mallett have refused to teach the doosra to their understudies in the belief it cannot be bowled legally.

Now, the ultimate exponent of the delivery will be guiding the fortunes of Australia’s spinners. That’s quite a turnaround. There has been no shortage of controversy and animosity between Murali and Australia over the years. Darrell Hair’s decision to ‘no ball’ him in the Boxing Day Test in 1995 set the tone, and subsequent clashes with umpire Ross Emerson during one-day internationals continued the trend.

The nadir was reached in 2004 when Prime Minister and noted cricket tragic John Howard was asked whether he thought Murali was a chucker. “Yes” Howard replied. “They proved it in Perth.”

Murali subsequently announced he would boycott the ensuing tour of Australia. That same year a panel of experts including Richie Benaud, Sunil Gavaskar, Barry Richards, Ian Botham and Michael Holding refused to select Muralitharan in the International Cricket Council’s team of the year after it emerged Botham and Holding harboured doubts over the legitimacy of his actions.

Murali was routinely heckled by Australian crowds over his controversial action and repeatedly queried by his great spin bowling contemporary Shane Warne.

Warne has delivered straight-forward views over the legality of Muralitharan’s action over the years, although it appears relations between the pair have thawed of late. Precisely what Warne thinks of Murali’s new role within Australian cricket is unclear, however.

Despite the many controversies, Murali’s action has been repeatedly cleared in test environments and he is officially recognised as the most prolific spin bowler of all time with 800 Test wickets.

What this appointment demonstrates clearly is that Lehmann is firmly in control of the decision-making within Australian cricket. Lehmann is determined to ensure that Australia’s players are prepared for all conditions and, with a Test series against Pakistan in the UAE looming, he is getting the best man for the job – regardless of historical context.

In my opinion, Muralitharan’s record will always have an asterisk next to it. Many purists, myself included, are doubtful over the legitimacy of his action, particularly when bowling the doosra

Now the most controversial bowler the world has seen will be tutoring Nathan Lyon, Australia’s No. 1 spin bowler. We’re in for an interesting time.


EDITORIAL NOTE, 26 December 2022

Malolm Conn, together with the late Martin Crowe and others, was among the notorious diehards who refused to believe the upmarket video analysis of the early 2000s that convinced such personnel as Mark Nicholas and Ravis Shastri about the legality of Murali’s doosra.

This item in NewsCorp is a strange one … dated this late December, but referring to Warne as if he was alive. Very very strange …. Some conning of readers going on eh! … with Conn as pointman. To compound the sleight of hand, Conn relies on the ultimate cricketing specialist: John Howard!







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