When England batsman Paul Collingwood became Muttiah Muralitharan’s 709th test victim, you could be certain what the next thing that the cricket world would hear. That was the indignant bleating of a nation of sooky la-las cloaked in baggy green envy crying about the fact that the Sri Lankan had claimed the world record for the greatest number of test dismissals.

Put an X next to the record in the history books, former test bowler Greg Matthews said on Melbourne radio. Cue former spin bowler and Warne acolyte Terry Jenner to continue his decade long sulk. Even relics like former test umpire Col Egar are wheeled out to condemn the man in his moment of triumph.

Let’s get it right. Murali doesn’t cheat. His action is fine. Why? Because we changed the rules to make it so. Look in the laws of cricket and there it is. A 15 degrees of separation when it comes to the art of bowling with a bent arm. It was created by the International Cricket Council in 2004. They passed the buck on the chuck and here we all are, 709 wickets later.

It was at The MCG in 1995 when Darrel Hair called Murali for chucking. That event has set off a chain of events unforseen at the time that has changed the nature of cricket forever.

The controversy happened at the dawn of the new golden age of cricket on the sub continent. As Test match crowds began to wane around the world, South Asian cricket was emerging as the new power in the sport.

Murali became a lightening rod in the power struggle between the old colonial cricket powers and the new cashed up tyros in South Asia.

The ICC shifting from its cosy London HQ to Dubai in 2005 evidenced recognition that the power balance in world cricket had shifted. This reflected the new reality of a game propped up by the sub continental appetite for one day and now 20/20 slogfests whilst Test match crowds dwindle all over the globe.

It was clear who was writing the cheques (and still is) to keep the game afloat. And if they can write the cheques then they get to write the rules as well.

It is clear that the bent arm rule, created to accommodate Murali, was pursued as a show of strength by the emerging South Asian block to defy what was seen as a witch hunt by cultural imperialists and snobs who thought the game should be played their way.

It’s a law that makes as much sense as a 15-degree leeway for a forward pass in Rugby or making handball legal if you only use your right arm in Football.

But them’s the rules. And that’s the reason why.