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'Throwing' umpire on sick leave

Ross Emerson, the umpire at the centre of the bitter controversy over Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan's action, has been off work for several weeks with what is believed to be a stress-related illness, it was reported here Tuesday.

His Perth employer, the ministry of fair trading, confirmed Emerson, 44, had not been at work for a number of weeks and had applied for worker compensation entitlements, the West Australian reported.

But the report quoted a ministry spokesman as saying Emerson's doctor believed that officiating in cricket matches was still within his capability

Emerson, originally from Sydney, New South Wales, has been living and working in Perth for about 10 years. He is a former policeman whose wife, Denise, is the sister of now retired Australian fast bowler Terry Alderman.

Emerson called off-spinner Muralitharan for throwing in the one-day match against England in Adelaide Saturday.

The paper said Emerson had refused to comment when approached at his Adelaide Hotel.

"I don't comment on personal matters to anybody," Emerson was quoted as saying.

The Australian Cricket Board also declined to comment.

The report said the chief executive of the ministry of fair trading, Pat Walker, had declined to comment on the nature of Emerson's illness, but confirmed that Emerson had filed an application for workers' compensation.

Walker said: "Emerson's doctor, while indicating that he is not able to work, has indicated that he believes that cricketing umpiring is within his present capabilities."

Emerson is listed to umpire in the England-Sri Lanka match at the WACA Ground in Perth Friday.

He has remained in Adelaide for a disciplinary hearing relating to Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who argued heatedly with Emerson after Saturday's no-balling of Muralitharan.

Play was held up for about 12 minutes as Ranatunga led his players to the edge of the field.

The hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, has now been delayed to a date to be determined.

Emerson and fellow umpire Tony McQuillan have charged Ranatunga with conduct unbecoming of an international player, showing dissent, intimidating an umpire and using abusive language.

Sri Lankan Cricket Board president Thilanga Sumathipala has said there could be further tense scenes in Friday's match.

Source :: AFP