Former India captain Bedi, unfazed by Murali’s legal threat

NEW DELHI, Aug 16, 2007 (AFP) – Former India captain Bishan Bedi has rubbished Muttiah Muralitharan’s demand for monetary damages for suggesting the Sri Lankan off-spinner was a cheat, reports said on Thursday. “I am a free man and I have a right to express my opinion,” Bedi, 60, was quoted as saying by the Times of India. “I haven’t said anything new. Everyone knows for years my views on the matter.”

Bedi, a classical left-arm spinner who took 266 wickets in 67 Tests before retiring in 1979, said last week that Muralitharan’s unusual bowling action made him “the best shot-putter in the history of cricket.”

“The most worrying thing is that young boys are trying to emulate him. So the ICC (International Cricket Council) have ended up creating a monster with all their technological nonsense to help him continue,” he said.

Muralitharan’s manager Kushil Gunasekera said on Wednesday that his lawyers had written a letter to Bedi, demanding approximately 6.7 million dollars as damages for what he said were “derogatory” remarks.

Gunasekera said lawyers gave Bedi 14 days to respond and will later decide whether to file court action against him.

The outspoken Bedi told the Times of India tha