Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan were two spinners who dominated the cricketing world through the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s. Both men were great exponents of spin bowling and possessed a sharp cricketing mind, which helped them out-think their opponents.
While Warne is regarded as the greatest leg-spinner ever, Murali takes the cake among offies. Both men finished their respective careers with a bagful of international wickets. The Sri Lankan finished his career with 800 scalps in 133 Tests, which is a world record.
Warme is second in the list with 708 wickets. Both men were also crowned world champions in the 50-over format and had equally successful ODI careers.
Speaking about the duo, former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has opined that Warne did not have the variety of his countrymate Muralitharan.
“Murali was a champion bowler, he went about his game differently to others. Warne did not have the variety that Murali did. Murali knew what he was doing and believed in grinding a batsman down. If he had to wait for ten overs to get a batsman out, he will do that,” Jayawardene told Sanjay Manjrekar in a videocast.
“Warne and Murali are two different personalities, Warney is a steady leg-spinner but he probably played much more with the tactical honours of you come and attack me, I will get you out, he probably knew that he did not have the variety that Murali had,” he added.
Jayawardene, who played two back to back ICC World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011, and also won the 2014 ICC WT20, said that bowlers of this generation might not be able to touch the numbers of Murali and Warne as they are up against better batsmen.
“We are yet to see if the modern-day bowlers hit the numbers that their predecessors did. The present bowlers are probably up against better batting units. If they even do not hit the numbers like their predecessors, it does not mean they are bad bowlers,” Jayawardene said.
“If you look at the top ten wicket-takers in modern-day cricket, all of them played during the first half of my career. There was Murali, Warne, McGrath, Kumble, Harbhajan, Akram, Waqar, and Saqlain. Their numbers speak for themselves,” he added.