Fri, Aug 17, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Bishan Bedi scoffs at Muralitharan's claim

AFP , NEW DELHI

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. I haven't said anything new. Everyone knows for years my views on the matter," Bedi was quoted as saying by the Times of India.

Bedi had 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 US$6.7 million 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.

Bedi told the Times of India that the ICC should take the blame for letting Muralitharan bowl with a bent arm, which the bowler attributes to a deformity.

"It's not poor Murali's fault. My grouse is against the ICC, which may yet rue this decision," the paper quoted him saying.

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