Bedi a Controversy Monger, Ordinary Bowler: Muralitharan

Colombo, Jul 28 (PTI): Retired spin great Muttiah Muralitharan on Wednesday lashed out at his long-time detractor Bishen Singh Bedi, calling the former Indian captain a controversy monger and ordinary bowler who would have been hammered by any batsman if was he playing now.

Bedi has been an untiring critic of Muralitharan by repeatedly calling the Sri Lankan a "chucker" and asking the ICC to ban the Sri Lankan's "doosra" as it was illegal.

Muralitharan, who retired last week after completing 800 Test wickets at Galle against India, made an uncharacteristic attack on Bedi, saying that he was just an ordinary bowler.

Asked about the lack of world-class spinners in India, except for Harbhajan Singh, Muralitharan said Bedi was not in the league BS Chandrasekhar, Srinivas Venkataraghavan and Erapalli Prasanna.

"Bedi, I don't think he does not even come to a contest on that. I saw some (of his) bowling of his playing days. In modern era, if he plays he will get hammered every ball, that is what will happen. So no comparison," the world's most successful spinner said.

"Prasanna is a good bowler. I have seen his bowling. Venkataraghavan is good. But Bedi does not come under it," he said.

Though without mentioning the constant criticism he got from Bedi, the affable Sri Lankan advised the former Indian captain to refrain from whipping up controversies.

"He (Bedi) is also a controversial person. He has lot of controversies everywhere in the world. And he should think about himself first rather than talking about other people," Muralitharan said.

Asked about Bedi's comments to ban the 'doosra' from international cricket, Muralitharan lampooned the Indian by saying that he has no variations in his bowling and was therefore critical of others.

"He (Bedi) did not have any variation. He just bowled left arm spin and pitch did the variation for him. That is what he bowled," he said.

Muralitharan said Anil Kumble was the best spinner India has produced and records speak for themselves.

"You forget the best spinner is Anil Kumble. Not Bedi or Venkataraghavan or any other. I think the best ever spinner produced (in India) is Kumble. No doubt about it and nobody can doubt it. Statistics-wise and on the basis of other things, he is far ahead than other guys", he said.

Muralitharan refused to compare between Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara but said on the basis of statistics, the Indian maestro was far ahead of any batsman.

"Sachin and Lara have been the most consistent batsmen in the world (to face my bowling). I admire them. I have most regards for those two guys and now place Ricky Ponting also in that list.

"I don't know who plays me the better. They are different individuals. Statistics-wise Sachin is heading the pack. You can say Sachin is the best on that basis. But you see the other two players are great players, they are also legends. I think you cannot make comparisons. They play in different conditions and situation," he said.

Muralitharan said he has no regrets in his cricketing career though it was haunted by controversies over his bowling action.

"It (controversy) did not haunt me at all. I went through it and I have done what I wanted to do in my cricketing life. So no regrets. Nothing. I am very happy to retire (from Test cricket)," he said.

He does not agree that players are getting injured due to more volume of cricket now that Twenty20 has become big.

"I don't think so. If a player is fit to play he should play every format. The players careers are very short, they enjoy all form of the games. So the three forms of cricket will continue though Test is the ultimate," he said.

Muralitharan said it would be difficult for India to come back into the three-match series against Sri Lanka as they have little chance to win the second Test.

"Sri Lanka is too strong at the moment. They are playing really well and the batsmen are getting lot of runs. It could be difficult to get a result in this match unless Sri Lanka wins. India cannot win this Test match. Unless something unpredictable happens," he said.

He refused to think that the era of Australian domination was over and said they are still a force to reckon in world cricket.

"Very difficult to say Australia have declined. They may decline for about a year, six months, five months. Then they can come back. So you can't say they are a bad side. They are a very good side," he said.

"Statistically, they were performing brilliantly during the last decade. Now they missed players like Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath ... Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer to open. So the youngsters will have to come and fill the void. It took a little bit of time for them," he added.


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Comment on this article

  • Anand, Karkala/Dubai

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Bedi was not a bad bowler at his time and compared to modern day techniques yes it was. Murali you are genious in world cricket.

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  • vashal, Mangalore

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Murali should thank his couterparts for their 8 Wickets donation to make the land is a gambling bai gambling...

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  • nelson, mangalore/kuwait

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Dont worry Murali Bedi has been a big mouth all over his career and the worst coach for India. His achivements come no where near yours. Wish you come over to India and coach one of the state teams to produce class spinners.

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  • loy, Manglore

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    A person who achieved this world record by his hard work,has every right to say his thoughts...

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  • vasant raj, udupi/Abudhabi

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Why to shut his mouth, Murali is right & always right.

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  • yousuf, ksa

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Well done Murali. enough is enough ... Bedi has mentally tortured you over and over for many years. It's your turn now.

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  • narendra, Konaje/Dubai

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Murali is 100% right.Bedi always wanted to hogg the lamelight by picking any player from a foreign country whenever they used to tour India.Nobody would listen to his third class opinions though.Its better than bedi keeps his mouth shut and admire mural's achievement.

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    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    Magic Murali's TIT FOR TAT is understandable.Bishen Singh Bedi, BS Chandershekar,Erapalli Prasanna Venkatraghavan,Anil Kumble and Haribajansing are of great spinners of India no doubt Mr Murali.

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  • Chetan.S, Mangalore,India

    Wed, Jul 28 2010

    It would be better for Murali to keep his mouth shut and maintain a low profile as he done for so many yrs.

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