Cricket: Why I deplore Victoria’s pursuit of Murali

By Chris Riordan

“Fourteen years after suffering the trauma of being labelled a chucker by umpire Darrell Hair at the MCG, Muthiah Muralidaran is poised to return to the ground as a home-town hero.” (July 3, 2009, The Age)

Are we that pathetic?

Murali is apparently a nice fella – and a Bulldogs supporter – but I cannot support Cricket Victoria’s pursuit of him on many levels.
He takes a place of a local spinner when they so desperately need opportunities … be it McGain, Jon Holland or another.
His batting and fielding are hardly “bash” bonuses.
But, in essence, I reckon he should be banned, so how can I support his recruitment? Much to my son’s dismay, I’ve told him I’ll not go anywhere to watch him chuck and continue to turn the game in to a mockery.
My frustration with Murali, who chucks everything, and his fellow doosra bowlers has been supported at a recent meeting of prominent Aussie spinners.
Hidden in the press recently was the following (edited) report:

AUSTRALIAN finger spinners will continue to labour behind their sub-continental counterparts after expert bowling coaches elected to banish the doosra.
It was a judgment based upon the shared belief that the doosra, pioneered by Pakistani spinner Saqlain Mushtaq in the 1990s and since adopted by numerous tweakers, cannot be bowled legally.
“There was unanimous agreement that the off-spinner’s ‘other-one’, the doosra, should not be coached in Australia,” Ashley Mallett wrote in the latest edition of the Adelaide Review.

“I have never seen anyone actually bowl the doosra. It has to be a chuck.

“Until such time as the ICC declares that all manner of chucking is legal in the game of cricket, I refuse to coach the doosra.

“All at the spin summit agreed.”


  1. I certainly heard this news first on The Knackery, I hadn’t heard of this Murali buso before.

    Just no the doozra though, why on earth can’t we teach all kinds of spin bowling around the country?! Mallett needs to have his head pulled in.

  2. crio – this is an example of how they SHOULD “chuck” the baby out with the bath water.

  3. I’m not totally convinced a prominent article on the middle page of the Sports Age constitutes “hidden in the press”?

    Perhaps the degree of hidden can be determined by how long it takes until Mallett and co are forced to issue the traditional “we were taken out of context.”

    Anyhoo, I fully support your sentiment – Ban the chucker! – and will now read about Rupertswood geese and the North Fitzroy Arms which are in articles hidden on the back page.

  4. Tony,
    What day was this article to which you refer please?

  5. Crio

    It was yesterday. Here ya go: link.

  6. johnharms says

    Lovers of the fine art of off-spin bowling,

    The thing about off-spinners is that we live in a permanant state of frustration. We watch Warney and envy his bag of tricks. We all know the bag is significantly bigger when top-spin becomes involved. But biomechanics and the laws of the game conspire against us.

    So we break them. Most finger spinners chuck. (That doesn’t make it right.)

    If we didn’t chuck we would bowl sliders. And we’d start to think we were actually no better than Kepler Wessels.

    Over the top finger-spinners – Tim May, Jason Krejza, Murali, Tuffers (when he was getting it right) – bowl the genuine top-spinner and being over the top allows them to give variety to their other deliveries.

    I reckon Saqlain? (at Bellerive??) bowled genuine doosras. I’m not sure about Murali. He might chuck, but he’s great to watch. The dipping off-spinner which spits at the batsman is a beauty, and makes the batsman use his feet, which makes for better cricket all round.

    Picking him for Victoria is another issue.


  7. Sorry, John,
    Saqlain chucked his “other’ which made it easier to read on TV than Murali, who just throws.Any other point of view can join the queue behind those believing Strauss took a clean catch!
    Offies are often very defensive bowlers and sometimes personalities.When the loop and dip works it is good, but captains often revert to safety and bowlers become like Viv Richard and those awful darts.
    I watched a lot of Mallett as a kid and was usually surprised that he took a wicket other than by attrition. Jenner, regularly at the other end, was totally predictable but always seemed eminently hittable. At Adelaide, that usually meant across the line so he’d get some victims.
    The loss of the rest day has hurt Test spinners. With all the lefties a right-arm orthodox could cash in today if we still had the 3 days to get the runs, and the 2 after the rest to hang on!

  8. TonyT,
    I just read yesterday’s Greg Baum piece. Sorry i hadn’t seen it.Pat Bartley’s great racing story on the back of a colleague’s Wednesday “Age” was all I’d browsed and settled for the little paper, which gave a stamp size to this story!
    I admire Warnie’s zeal. His logic supports my horror at the call to shorten Tests to four (longer) days. Maybe Shield games can be 4 days with a rest in the middle to allow some pitch adjustment?
    Mallett is interesting in his opinions. How strong would they be if a good contract came from overseas?

  9. Ed Kosmac says

    In Sir Donald Bradman’s book “The Art of Cricket”, he states:
    “It is far easier to throw an off-break than to bowl it. The bent elbow assists the rhythm. That is why the actions of quite a few off-spinners have been suspect”.
    This makes off-spin bowling a perilous career for any youngster. Do the right thing and you won’t get the ball to do enough. Do the wrong thing, you’ll get the ball to do wonderful things and you’ll be stamped a “chucker”.
    Seriously, leg spin offers a far greater array of options and variation. Top spin is a killer for many batsmen who can’t read flight above their eye line.
    Further more the arm is rolled over allowing for loop and importantly, the action is always going to be legal.

  10. Terry Jenner was on the media wagon yesterday and spruiking the importance of the recent spin summit.
    One decision they’d made in Brisbane was not to teach the doosra.
    And now the Bushrangers recruit Chucker Murali…condemned by locals and a poor fielder and batter in a Twenty/20 concept.

  11. Quick question and a variation off subject. Was there a link between the fall in English cricket and the increase in foreign players? Or is that just a silly assumption on my behalf?

    If true, could this be the beginning of a similar problem in Australia, 5-10 years from now?

  12. Possibly Tim. This is a promoter over-ruling a cricketer…Wow, we’ll get viewers in Sri Lanka!!!
    Incredibly, commentators are saying we’ll embrace him. Either you grudgingly admired him beforehand or not. This is not a partisan issue.
    As I also said, as an aside, I doubt his qualifications in the flat track game and worry about the Murali’s bowling/ fielding credentials.
    I’d prefer to see this as a blooding of locals. Otherwise there are many better available imports.
    Divisive. I’ll certainly not go to any of the matches involving Murali and not join the Bushrangers.

  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Totally agree , Great article I will never support a chucker and having coached with , Rowdy he is firmly against the doosra v good point re
    The rest day as a southaussie with this bloody drop in pitch I reckon we will get a result late on day 18 !

  14. Malcolm,
    The recent Test in India was depressing. The only WI bowler likely to take a wicket throws his other ‘un.
    That’something for Caribbean kids to copy.
    And.. Don’t tell me Johan Botha has been repaired!

  15. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Crio to sat I agree with you is a massive understatement !

  16. The problem, though, is that on these one-day decks the offie is either fodder or bowls darts. No wonder skippers pick the negative option. No longer pie throwers….there’s a choice of pies or throws

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