The best thing about Michael Parkinson's cricket writing is that he's not caught up in the conflicts of interest or compromises of the modern day player, administrator, full-time cricket pundit or "official" broadcaster. How I hate that last term.
This is not to say all official participants are complicit in promoting elements detrimental to the essence of cricket, but as an "outsider" Parky's able to freely offer opinions without the natural contraints of the professional "insiders" that dictate it's vital to first consider the bottom line.
When John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia, said Muttiah Muralitharan was a chucker, he was only saying what the rest of us were thinking but it did the job. Murali withdrew from the present Sri Lanka tour of Australia.
Writing in the current issue of Wisden Cricketer, Peter Roebuck wonders what all the fuss is about. He says cricket cannot afford to waste more time on its obsession with bent-arm bowling actions. Pointing out the game is struggling in Africa and the Caribbean, Roebuck argues that there are bigger issues than the action of a bowler with a "freakish" action who was "smacked around by the Australians and causes mayhem mainly among Englishmen unable to use their feet".
He might well have a point except the bowler in question has taken more Test wickets than any other 527 and counting - and it is still not clear how many have been taken with illegal deliveries. Surely that matters or does the integrity of the game count for naught?
I find the attitude of some former players to Muchichuckalot quite mystifying. I was talking to one the other day who, while admitting the bowler chucked, said he should be allowed to continue because he was "good for the game".
When I asked for an explanation he said he was "box office" and wasn't in any danger of doing an opponent bodily harm like, say, Shoaib Akhtar might. A curious justification.
In the meantime, by judiciously avoiding trouble, Muchichuckalot should go on taking wickets, putting his record further out of reach of more scrupulous bowlers. If he wants my vote, Tony Blair should stop wasting his breath praising our poor lads in Portugal. Instead, he should denounce Muralitharan, thus guaranteeing one less chucker in the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy.
It won't happen. The Prime Minister of Australia knows about sport. Ours neither knows nor cares.
Thanks to Jack.H who extracted it from under Wayne Rooney and Steve Harmison.