Murali is a chucker
At the receiving end of a scathing attack from Muttiah Muralitharan, his long-time detractor Bishen Singh Bedi on Wednesday hit back at the Sri Lankan spin great by maintaining that he is indeed a "chucker".
Bedi, an untiring critic of Muralitharan by repeatedly calling him a "chucker", found support from two other Indian spinners, Erapalli Prasanna and Maninder Singh, who said the Sri Lankan was given the license by the International Cricket Council to bend his arm.
In an uncharacteristic attack, Muralitharan described Bedi a controversy monger and an ordinary bowler who would have been thrashed by any batsman had he been playing in the modern era.Asked for his reaction to Murali's verbal volley, Bedi said, "I don't want to react; don't want to comment. I don't want to say anything to be honest. You know my views. I don't want to stoop to his level. I don't call Murali a chucker. He is a chucker."
Image: Bishen Singh Bedi
Murali should have avoided it
Former India spinner Prasanna threw his weight behind his former teammate, saying Murali's attack was "totally uncalled for".
"He (Murali) should have avoided it. Murali should have been little more mature. He just can't make such loose comments that anybody could have achieved Bishen's feat. We all admire him for his achievements. He should have avoided making such comments," Prasanna said.
"The fact of the matter is that ICC bent its rules for Murali. With that, flexibility was allowed to him and most of the bowlers," he said.
"He doesn't fit into the slot of conventional bowler but fact of the matter is ICC bent the rules and permitted him. Therefore it's okay," he said.
Prasanna said the ICC modified the rules which allowed bowlers to take advantage in releasing the ball.
"Bedi is one of the best left-arm spinner India has ever got," he added.
Image: EAS Prasanna
'Murali should keep his mouth shut'
Another former India left-arm spinner Maninder Singh said Bedi could have also taken a lot of wickets if he was allowed to bend his arm.
"If he (Bedi) was allowed to bend his arm by the ICC, he would have taken five wickets in every of the 67 matches that he played in his career. Murali should keep his mouth shut really," he said.
"Whole world knows that he has the license from the ICC to keep chucking and that's why he started his doosra. Nobody stopped him. Wickets started increasing for him. It's best time for Murali to keep shut.
"He should understand he is talking about such a great bowler, Bedi. I don't think he is doing justice to himself. I have lost respect for him after this verbal attack," Maninder said.
Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh felt Muralitharan had been very patient about the constant criticism of Bedi and must have finally vented it out today.
"Bishen has been very strong in his criticism about Murali. I don't necessarily agree to what he said but I think Murali must have held his tongue for 15 years and just gave it back today," Waugh said.
Image: Muttiah Muralitharan