Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan believes Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is much better than Australia's Nathan Lyon. He feels the Indian has a genuine chance of picking up 700-800 Test wickets by the time he retires.
There has been a lot of debate about who is a better off-spinner between Lyon (396 Test wickets) and Ashwin (377 Test wickets), especially with the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy providing a riveting battle between the duo.
However, Muttiah Muralitharan has no doubt in his mind that Ashwin is a much-talented spinner than the Aussie. The Sri Lankan feels if Lyon has to pick up 700-800 wickets, he would have to play a lot of Test matches, a tough task, given the Aussie is 33 already.
Speaking to former England skipper Michael Vaughan for The Telegraph, Muttiah Muralitharan had his say on the Ashwin-Lyon rivalry.
"Ashwin [who has 377 Test wickets] 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  but he has had to play many, many matches to get there," Muttiah Muralitharan said.
"If you bowl line and length, you will get five wickets" - Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan thinks current bowlers do not need to put in a lot of effort to pick up wickets in Test cricket, because of the evolution of white-ball cricket.
The 48-year-old also reckons present-day batsmen don't possess the patience to endure tough periods and bat for long hours. He believes the batters, more often that not, try to play shots, which always keep the bowlers in the game.
"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," Muttiah Muralitharan asserted.
While the fourth Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy will start tomorrow, Sri Lanka will be hosting England for a two-match Test series, starting today.Published 14 Jan 2021, 08:38 IST