Lanka PM meets Sen over spat with ICC

Agence France Presse

Colombo, May 20:

Sri Lanka’s prime minister on Thursday held talks with India’s top envoy here to seek support for taking legal action against cricket’s world governing body over its decision to ban Muttiah Muralitharan’s controversial ‘doosra’ delivery.

Premier Mahinda Rajapakse held closed-door talks with Nirupam Sen, India’s High Commissioner (ambassador) here at his official Temple Trees residence, officials said.

Details of the talks were not disclosed, but Rajapakse had said on Wednesday he was seeking support from the other three Test playing nations in South Asia — Bangladesh, India and Pakistan — over the issue.

Rajapakse is also making elaborate arrangements to welcome Muralitharan back from Zimbabwe, where he surpassed West Indian Courtney Walsh’s world record of 519 wickets to become the most successful bowler in Test history.

Muralitharan, who now has 527 wickets, will return with the rest of the team later on Thursday.

The Sri Lankan prime minister has mounted a campaign to defend the star off-spinner after Australian Premier John Howard last week described him as a “chucker.”

Howard’s remark prompted Muralitharan to consider boycotting Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia in July.

Rajapakse brushed aside ICC chief Ehsan Mani’s advice to both prime ministers to stay out of the Muralitharan row and allow the ICC to deal with the situation.

Murali to fight back against detractors

COLOMBO: Muttiah Muralitharan, the world’s leading test wicket taker, on Thursday vowed to fight back against his detractors who claim that the Sri Lankan offspinner has an illegal bowling action.

Muralitharan was given a rousing welcome by cricket officials, politicians and fans gathered at Sri Lanka’s only international airport in capital, Colombo on Thursday when he returned from Zimbabwe where he established a new Test wicket-taking record of 527.

“Some people are trying to stop me from performing, but I’ll come hard at them,” Muralitharan told reporters at the airport. “I won’t give up, I won’t give-in to them.” — AP