Bending it like the ICC

NOW that the ICC has conceded one degree more to Muttiah Muralitharan to extend his elbow (15 degrees to his original 14 degrees) let us leave him to chuck to his heart's content.

But I am eager to know something: Some time ago Muralitharan has gone on record in Pakistan saying that there is a congenital deformity in his right arm and he cannot straighten it. But if there is a deformity at birth, he should find it difficult to bat, field, throw and catch.

On the contrary, he batted like an accomplished batsman last season against the Australians in Sri Lanka. Besides, he is a good fielder in the deep and we have seen him effect direct hits and take catches without any difficulty.

What do Osteopaths and Orthopaedics say on this point?

These `concessions' are unfair to other teams who do not have Muralitharans in their ranks.

Finally, how can the world governing body of a sport once played by `greats' such as Bradman, Hobbs, Hutton and Sobers be unfair to the game itself?

Better let us go and play marbles. V. M. Balachandran, Kozhikode

THE most striking thing about life and sports is that they evolve over a period of time. But this evolution has been somewhat lopsided when it comes to cricket. While batting has reached the stratosphere thanks to one-day cricket and flat pitches, bowling has languished. I think the new rule will redress the grievances of bowlers.

Abolishing the off-side rule in hockey and sweeping changes made to Formula One are instances of rules having been changed in keeping with the times.

So, I support the ICC's recent recommendations and I think that it will go a long way in intensifying the battle between bat and ball.

Praveen Ranjan, New Delhi

IF the ICC is `bending' backwards to accommodate Murali, South Asian cricket — for long a victim of the machinations of the self-serving Anglo-Australian lobby in the ICC — may not complain. But can anyone explain the wisdom behind tarnishing the names of immortals such as Dennis Lillee, Richard Hadlee and Michael Holding, who were poetry in motion whilst bowling?

Now, will the ICC post computer-simulated `acceptable' bowling actions for the different disciplines of bowling (such as off- spin and leg spin) on its Website for its affiliates to `download' into their system?

I can no longer ask my son to bowl fast like a Hadlee or bowl leg spin like a Warne. Thanks ICC!

Suresh Manoharan, Warangal

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this ICC recommendation has been made under pressure from some cricket boards, the names of which should be well known to all.

The ICC has declared the tolerance limit of 15 degrees, because apparently it is only after 15 degrees that the bend of the arm becomes visible to the naked eye.

If this is the case, how can one determine whether bowlers, with bent elbows due to deformities, bend their arms because of the deformity or whether they bend them even more under cover of the deformity?

If chucking is legalised there will be no way for the umpire to even think of calling a bowler for throwing, even if it's quite apparent that he is. This recommendation doesn't look to stamp out illegal actions from the game. On the contrary, it has damaged the game by inviting the bowlers to bend their arms. It's disgraceful.

Abhishek Pande, Pune