Murali sues Bedi for defamation

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is to take legal action against Bishen Bedi after the former Indian spinner yet again made condescending remarks about his bowling-action last week. Murali’s manager, Kushal Gunasekara, yesterday revealed the news on Indian TV.

Bedi has spoken out against Murali several times down the years, and in his most recent jibe compared the Sri Lankan to a shot-putter (as opposed to the javelin-thrower he has used previously), said that ICC had “created a monster” by allowing him to continue bowling, ventured that he was “a bad example”, and finished off with “Murali will complete 1000 Test wickets but they would count as mere run-outs in my eyes”.

It seems Murali has finally lost patience with Bedi’s constant sniping. Gunasekara told the station: “Murali is hurt over Bedi’s remarks. We are working with a team of lawyers. His integrity has been challenged. Restraint in speech is very important. Bedi is indulging in character assassination. The remarks are disrespectful and unjustified.” He added that a “letter of demand” had been sent to Bedi, claiming 750,000,000 rupees (US$7,000,000) in damages for defamation, and that they would await his response before taking further action.

Muralitharan’s action has been cleared by ICC several times, and the bowler is expected to pass Shane Warne’s 708 Test wickets on Sri Lanka’s upcoming tour of Australia. He has nonetheless had to endure complaints from many quarters throughout his career from those who refuse to accept the findings of those who have cleared his action.

Sri Lanka Cricket have also added their voice to the furore, with Kangadaran Madivanan, the board’s secretary, calling Bedi’s latest comments “defamatory”, and chairman Jayantha Dharamadasa pointing-out “Muralitharan has been cleared by the ICC a couple of times.” Gunasekara added that the board supported the legal suit. The lawyers hired by Gunasekara rounded-off in Sri Lanka’s Daily News with the threat: “We are writing a letter to Bedi and if needed, he will be dragged into a court of law”.

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