Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan believes Ravichandran Ashwin is the best spinner in the world at present and his achievements are a testimony to his greatness.
On Day 4 of the Nagpur Test against Sri Lanka, the 31-year-old became the fastest bowler to reach 300 Test wickets, bringing up the tally in just his 54th match. He eclipsed Australian legend Dennis Lillee’s record during India’s mammoth victory over Dinesh Chandimal’s side by an innings and 239 runs.
“I want to congratulate him. It’s a big achievement as getting 300 Test wickets is not an easy job. Definitely, he is the best spinner in the world at the moment,” Muralitharan told PTI Bhasha according to the New Indian Express.
“He is not in the One-Day team but hopefully he will return and do wonders in the shorter formats also,” said former Sri Lankan spinner, who holds the record for the most wickets in the format – 800 wickets in 133 Tests.
The Australian pacer had reached the milestone in 56 Test matches back in 1981 and it has taken 36 years for another bowler to break the feat. Ashwin is also ahead of some other greats of the game, including Muralitharan (58 Tests), Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall and Dale Steyn (61 Tests).
“He is hardly 31, 32 years old and can play for another 4-5 years at least. But it will also depend on how he performs and remains injury free. Only time will tell as it will be very hard for him after 35,” said Muralitharan.
Speaking about the overkill of India vs Sri Lanka contests, the 45-year-old gave a cheeky reply. “I can’t say there is too much of cricket but may be Virat (Kohli) is getting bored of winning every time,” he said.
While Muralitharan praised the current Indian team for its consistency, he expressed serious concern about the state of Sri Lankan cricket.
“India is a very good side and I rate them very high. You can’t take credit away from India by saying that Sri Lanka is a weak team. They are doing really well in every format,” he said.
“Alarm bells rang two three years ago. For me it’s a matter of great concern. You lose sometime but this team is losing a lot and that is a major worry. Young cricketers are not coming through. They are not performing. That’s the biggest concern we have,” he concluded.