June 2, 2007 (AFP) – Former Sri Lankan cricket coach Tom Moody says he is embarrassed by the derogatory reaction and constant harassment directed by Australian crowds towards Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Muralitharan’s ultra-flexible bowling action has come under its heaviest scrutiny in Australia, where he has been called for throwing on two tours, prompting him to boycott Sri Lanka’s 2004 tour here.
Even Australian Prime Minister John Howard joined in by labelling him a “chucker.”
But Moody, who resigned after a successful stint as Sri Lanka coach to take up a coaching role with Western Australia, claims Murali’s bowling action is more legal than those of some other international cricketers.
“As an Australian when I have been with the Sri Lankan team in Australia, or playing against them in the World Cup, it’s the only situation we find in the whole of the cricketing world where we have this disgraceful slant on a cricketer,” Moody told Saturday’s The Australian newspaper.
“My take on it, and I hope I’m right, and I’ve shared this with Murali, is that it’s Australia’s nature to show that response in a way of respect and acknowledgement of someone who is pretty special and unique.