New Delhi: At the receiving end of a scathing attack from Muttiah Muralitharan, his long-time detractor Bishen Singh Bedi today hit back at the retired Sri Lankan spin great by maintaining that he was indeed a "chucker"
Bedi, an untiring critic of Muralitharan by repeatedly calling him a "chucker", found support from two other Indian spinners Erapalli Prasanna and Maninder Singh who said the Sri Lankan was given the licence by the ICC to bend his arm.
In an uncharacterictic attack, Muralitharan described Bedi a controversy monger and an ordinary bowler who would have been thrashed by any batsman had he been playing in the modern era.
Asked for his reaction to Murali`s verbal volley, Bedi said, "I don`t want to react. Don`t want to comment. I don`t want to say anything to be honest. You know my views. I don`t want to stoop to his level. I don`t call Murali a chucker. He is a chucker."
Former Indian spinner Prasanna threw his weight behind his former teammate, saying Murali`s attack was "totally uncalled for".
"He (Murali) should have avoided it. Murali should have been little more mature. He just can`t make such loose comments that anybody could have achieved Bishen`s feat. We all admire him for his achievements. He should have avoided making such comments", Prasanna said.
"The fact of the matter is that ICC bent its rules for Murali. With that, flexibility was allowed to him and most of the bowlers," he said.
"He doesn`t fit into the slot of conventional bowler but fact of the matter is ICC bent the rules and permitted him. Therefore it`s ok", he said.
Prasanna said the ICC had modified the rules and it allowed the bowlers to take advantage of those rules in releasing the ball.
"Bedi is one of the best left-arm spinner India has ever got," he added.
Another former Indian left-arm spinner Maninder Singh said Bedi could have also taken a lot of wickets if he was allowed to bend his arm.
"If he (Bedi) was allowed to bend his arm by ICC, he would have taken 5 wickets in every of the 67 matches that he played in his career. Murali should keep his mouth shut really," he said.
"Whole world knows that he has the licence from the ICC to keep chucking and that`s why he started his `doosra`. Nobody stopped him. Wickets started increasing for him. It`s best time for Murali to keep shut.”
"He should understand he is talking about such a great bowler Bedi. I don`t think he is doing justice to himself. I have lost respect for him after this verbal attack", Maninder said.
Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh felt Muralitharan had been very patient about the constant criticism of Bedi and must have finally vented it out today.
"Bishen has been very strong in his criticism about Murali. I don`t necessarily agree to what he said but I think Murali must have held his tongue for 15 years and just gave it back today," Waugh said.