Ravi Ashwin can get to 700-800 Test wickets; Nathan Lyon isn’t good enough: Muttiah Muralitharan
Muralitharan also believes that bowlers of the modern era don’t have to work out of their skins to get wickets.
Updated - Jan 14, 2021 10:27 am
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan reckons that Ravi Ashwin has a genuine chance of picking up 700-800 Test wickets. For the time being, Ashwin has 377 Test wickets from 74 matches with 27 five-wicket hauls.
The 34-year-old also has had a decent outing in the ongoing Border Gavaskar four-match series, having picked up Steve Smith’s wicket three times. Meanwhile, Muralitharan reckons that Australia’s Nathan Lyon isn’t good enough to get to 700-800 wickets at the highest level.
Interestingly, Lyon is a year younger than Ashwin and also has 19 scalps more than the Indian off-spinner. The 48-year-old Muralitharan put forth his opinions while speaking to Michael Vaughan for The Telegraph.
Muralitharan backs Ravi Ashwin
“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,” Muralitharan was quoted as saying.
The fourth Test, starting January 15 at The Gabba is set to be a memorable one for Lyon. The game will be Lyon’s 100th in Test cricket and with 396 wickets under his belt, he is not far away from joining the 400-wicket club.
Muralitharan also believes that bowlers of the modern era don’t have to work out of their skins to get wickets. As per him, the evolution of white-ball cricket has made the batsmen attacking and hence, picking five-wicket hauls isn’t a tough task.
“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,” he added.
Muralitharan was known as the ‘Smiling Assassin’ after he picked up 800 Test wickets from 133 matches. At the international level, he picked up over 1,300 wickets.