“Ashwin can get to 800 Test wickets; Lyon not good enough,” says Muttiah Muralitharan

Former Sri Lankan spin great Muttiah Muralitharan had an interesting point of view on how the Test format has become easier for the bowlers than those in his era. He also revealed which bowler he thinks might break the 800 Test wickets barrier, broken only by himself.

Muralitharan reckoned that Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin might be the next bowler to get to the milestone.

He does have a chance to get there by the number of wickets he has taken and the number of matches he has played to get there. He also pointed out that Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon might not be good enough to get there.

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Muttiah Muralitharan told Telegraph, “Ashwin has a chance because he is a great bowler. Other than that, I don’t think any younger bowler coming in will go to 800. Maybe Nathan Lyon is not good enough to reach it. He is close to 400 (396 after the third Test against India) but he has had to play many, many matches to get there.”

R Ashwin, 34, currently has 377 Test wickets in 74 Tests while Lyon,33, has 396 in 99 Tests.

The 48-year-old stated the difference between batsmen’s techniques during his playing days and to that of the batsmen in the current era, who are primarily limited-overs formats players and can’t hang on to the pitch without playing their shots.

Muralitharan said, “The problem in Test cricket is that Twenty20s and one-day internationals have changed the dynamics. When I played, the batsmen were technically so good and wickets were flat; now, they try to finish matches in three days. The bowlers in my day had to do extra work to get spin and do something magic to get results.”

“Nowadays, if you bowl line and length over a period of time, you will get five wickets. It is guaranteed because batsmen cannot stay for long without attacking. You have a better chance of taking wickets, which is why spinners only have to set the field properly, bowl line and length, and let the pitches and batsmen do the rest,” he added.

(With inputs from Telegraph and PTI)

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