Warne - Leave it to umpires

Shane Warne expressed concern yesterday that the new proposal on cricket's "chucking" controversy might create more confusion.

He said it should be left to the umpires to no-ball bowlers.

A committee recommended to the International Cricket Council yesterday that all bowlers be allowed to straighten their arms by up to 15 degrees.

Sri Lankan spin ace Muttiah Muralitharan, Warne's rival for the all-time wickets record, would be able to resume bowling his controversial "doosra" under the proposal.

Warne was careful not to single out Muralitharan or any other bowler when discussing the proposal.

"I think it might [create confusion] - how does an umpire tell if it's 12 degrees, 10 degrees, 9, 13, 14, whatever it is when it happens," Warne said.

"I'm not saying anyone does [throw], all I'm saying is that any bowler that plays, if the umpire is standing there and they think someone throws the ball, they call him and then it goes to that panel."

The decision prompted former Sri Lankan test player Aravinda de Silva to predict 32-year-old Muralitharan, the second-highest wicket-taker in test cricket with 532 victims, would end up taking at least 700 test wickets.

"He has so much cricket left in him that I have little doubt that Murali will reach the 700-wicket mark in test cricket," he said.

"The ICC has done the right thing [by clearing him to bowl his doosra] and he can go ahead with his usual repertoire of bowling. I am glad for Murali, who will be a relieved man now."

The "doosra", a legspinner bowled from the front of the hand, was outlawed by the ICC last May after a report concluded Muralitharan bent his arm during delivery and so threw the ball.

At present spinners are permitted five degrees, medium pacers 7.5 and fast bowlers 10. Muralitharan's doosra was initially measured at around 14 degrees.

"Levels of tolerance are in place to deal with the reality that almost every bowler in international cricket will straighten his arm to some extent because of the bio-mechanical forces at work in his action," the ICC said.

"Expert advice had identified that the recommended level of tolerance of 15 degrees will accommodate any straightening that is as a result of bio-mechanical forces at work in the action."

Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, a member of the committee which was chaired by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, said he had been convinced that all bowlers straightened their arm to some extent.

"When bowlers, who to the naked eye look to have pure actions, are thoroughly analysed with the assistance of the sophisticated technology now in place, they are likely to be shown as straightening their arm by 11 and in some cases 12 degrees.

"Under a strict interpretation of the law these players are breaking the rules. The game needs to deal with this reality and make its judgment as to how it accommodates this fact."

Muralitharan, who has been called twice for throwing, is expected to make a comeback to test cricket in the series against New Zealand in January after recovering from a shoulder injury.

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