Champion Sri Lankan spinner and the leading wicket-taker in Test match cricket, Muttiah Muralitharan, recently opened up on the ongoing rivalry between India’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Australia’s Nathan Lyon.
Ashwin and Lyon are the two leading spinners in Test match cricket in the modern-era and often it has led to debates as to who among the two is better.
Muralitharan, in an interview with Michael Vaughan for the Daily Telegraph, feels that Ravichandran Ashwin has the ability to end up with 700/800 wickets and that he is far more talented than his Australian counterpart.
Ashwin has 377 wickets to his name in 77 Tests as compared to Nathan Lyon, who is nearing on the 400-wicket landmark (396) in what would be his 100th Test for Australia at the Gabba.
“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  but he has had to play many, many matches to get there,” Muttiah Muralitharan said.
Nathan Lyon or Ravichandran Ashwin? 🤔
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‘Nowadays, if you bowl line and length over a period of time, you will get five wickets’- Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan also reckoned that in the modern era it is easier for spinners to claim wickets by bowling line and length consistently since he feels that batsmen today do not have the patience to survive after a period of time, something he has attributed to the white-ball cricket revolution.
“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 reckoned.
Speaking of Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon, the duo will lock horns for one final time when India and Australia square-off in the series-decider at the Gabba. Ashwin has out-bowled his counterpart in the series thus far and it will be interesting to see how the ‘GOAT’ responds in what will be a landmark Test for him.