Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan believes Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon is “not good enough” to reach his tally of 800 Test wickets.
Muralitharan is regarded as one of the best finger spinners in the sport’s history, and comfortably holds the record for most Test wickets.
Speaking to the UK Telegraph, the 48-year-old claimed Indian tweaker Ravichandran Ashwin has a chance of getting near his record, but doesn’t feel the same way about Lyon.
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“Ashwin has a chance because he is a great bowler,” Muralitharan said. “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.”
Former cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan speaks with Australian cricketer Stephen O’Keefe.Source:AFP
Lyon is on the verge of surpassing 400 Test wickets, and is expected to reach the milestone during his 100th match at the Gabba this week.
The off-spinner turned 33 in November, and if injury does not intervene, has the potential to compete in Test cricket for another five years.
“I’m far from being done,” Lyon told reporters on Wednesday morning.
“I’m still hungrier than ever. I want to go out there and play as much cricket for Australia as I can … win a lot of Test series for Australia.”
In comparison, the 34-year-old Ashwin is sitting on 377 Test wickets.
Lyon averages 31.98 with the ball in Test cricket, while Ashwin averages 25.53. Similarly, the Aussie takes a wicket every 63.9 deliveries in the game’s longest format, while his Indian rival does so every 54.0 deliveries.
MOST TEST WICKETS FOR SPIN BOWLERS
Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) — 800
Shane Warne (AUS) — 708
Anil Kumble (IND) — 619
Rangana Herath (SL) — 433
Harbhajan Singh (IND) — 417
Nathan Lyon (AUS) — 396
Ravichandran Ashwin (IND) — 377
Australia’s Nathan Lyon shouts an unsuccessful appeal.Source:AFP
Australian great Shane Warne backed Lyon to come within touching distance of himself and Muralitharan on the all-time list.
“If he keeps himself injury free, I think he could easily go on and play for another five years,” Warne wrote in The Herald Sun this month.
“That’s approximately another 50 Tests, and if he continues to take four wickets per game, then that is another 200 – or maybe 250 if he has a golden five years – Test wickets.
“You put that on top of his 400 and he’s in the 600-650 wicket club at 38 years of age.
“And if he’s still going well then he might have a crack at me and Murali, which would be awesome to see.”
The fourth Test between Australia and India will commence at the Gabba on Friday with the series evenly poised at 1-1.
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