Last year Keith Stackpole wrote that Murali is a chucker: "If I had been on the international Cricket Council's sub-committee that assessed Muthiah Muralidaran's action years ago, he would not be playing today." Then wrote: he "should be recognised for his considerable achievements." In other words, he cheats, but so what.
Sunday, for some reason, he felt the need to reiterate; welcoming Murali to Straya and hoping we do likewise.
Murali heads our way
DESPITE the criticism Muthiah Muralidaran has endured over the years, particularly in Australia, it's great the star spinner has said he will tour this summer.
But Cricket Australia will be on the edge until he gets off the plane because he has pulled out of Australian tours before.
In fact, despite a long and remarkable career Murali has only played two Tests for Sri Lanka on Australian shores -- in 1995.
He took 3-348 in that series and Australia hasn't seen the best of this gifted spinner, except on TV.
The ice was broken two years ago when he came to play a Test for the World XI and played some one-dayers. He is closing in quickly on Shane Warne's world record of 708 wickets and it is likely he could break the record in the second Test at Bellerive in Tasmania.
He is having a ball at the moment against Bangladesh having taken 14 wickets at 14.29 in the first two Tests and has the third to play in Kandy and only trails Warne by 20.
Whenever you talk about a record that will never be broken you are always tempting fate.
But there are three records I think will never be broken.
The first is Jim Laker's, who took 19 wickets in a Test match for England against Australia in 1956 at Old Trafford.
Bradman's overall Test average of 99.94; and whatever number of wickets Muralidaran ends up with, I doubt it will ever be broken.
He is 35 and could play another five years. People laughed at Warne suggesting Muralidaran could break the 1000-barrier, but there is no reason, with the amount of Test cricket played today, he could not achieve that remarkable target.
When you analyse the two spinners, the Aussie spinner probably had better bowlers in front of him such as Glenn McGrath, Merv Hughes and Jason Gillespie, but they also ate into his wicket-taking potential.
But with Sri Lanka light on for bowlers, only paceman Chaminda Vaas has taken the limelight away from Murali.
Murali has taken 58 five-wicket hauls compared with Warne's 35 and on 19 occasions has taken 10 or more in a match compared with Warne's 10.
Also Murali's strike and economy rate eclipses the great Aussie leg spinner.
But having said that, there is no doubt Warne has plied his trade against far stronger opposition.
However, we must acknowledge Murali has been a first-class spinner who has proven time and time again he belongs on the world stage.
He is a gutsy bowler. But I hope I don't see another bowler with a similar action otherwise the game will talked about for all the wrong reasons.
If he does break the record in Australia I hope our fans show their appreciation and acknowledge his fine contribution to the game.
Personally, I hope our fans show contempt, not appreciation. How much contempt? Well, I'd expect Aussie punters to rate high on the chuckanista contempo-meter, with assorted pundits harumpfing about our awful behaviour. And I DEMAND nothing less than complete contempt from Spanky - "Australia crowds are a disgrace." Result.
Interesting, too, that Stacky mentions the Tsunami match. Chris Cairns (I think) was pounding the bowlers when Murali unleashed a doosra to get Cairns stumped. Not so strange, you say, except the doosra was banned at the time. Doubtless, Murali, in a cynical attempt to stop the pounding threw in the doosra to surprise the big Kiwi blouser.
There were rock all complaints, just minor static that it was a one-off in a charity match, so what did it matter.
Disturbingly, the same thing happened in the recent Twenty/20 at The Oval. Mark at the excellent RSM writes that Marlon Samuels was getting tonked, so, just like Murali's doosra ploy, Samuels fired in "one of the most dubious deliveries seen in an international match" to skittle Paul Collingwood. (You just know it's "blatant cheating" when Mark cites the Telegraph.)
Official cant has always been that if someone was stupid enough to try a super-dodgy delivery in any match, the umpire is still free to call it.
Did Marlon get called? Did he fuck.
Worse, "the Sky commentators TOTALLY ignored" it. But there's no surprise in that, is there. Too many of those that matter (couldn't think of a better term) keep shtum on chucking. Until they are prepared to acknowledge the enormous, leather-skinned herbivore in the room, the one with the flappy ears and the trunk, then most everything else they say should be taken with a salty grain. They are hopelessly compromised.
Unless commentators are prepared to call it as they see it, it can only be a matter of time until someone unleashes a chuck at a crucial point in a Test match.