Howard's Bad Spin

Australian Prime Minister John Howard rarely misses an opportunity to comment on his greatest passion: cricket. An obsessive fan of the game—Australians call him a "cricket tragic"—it surprised few to hear that Howard holds an opinion on an issue that is the talk of the international cricket fraternity: Is Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, a slow bowler with the uncommon ability to spin a ball like a top, a "chucker"? Howard didn't hesitate: "Yes," he told supporters at a political function in rural Australia last month. Howard had, in effect, labeled the most successful bowler in cricket history and an icon in...

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