While Muralitharan admits that there is no rivalry shared between the pair, he said that despite having had more opportunities against teams like India, he has taken the Test wickets to back up his claim.
“Shane is a very fine bowler, but there is no rivalry between us,” he said. “It could be said I have done better than Shane against teams like India, who are great players of spinners,” he added. But I’ve also had the opportunity to play more often on their wickets and I’m used to them more than Shane.”
However stats don’t always give a clear picture of events. The fact that over 100 of Muralitharan’s Test wickets have come against minnows Zimbabwe and Bangladesh must be given careful consideration, though Muralitharan believes that irrelevant of the opposition, one Test wicket is as valuable as the next. “I took the wickets and they were Tests,” he said.
Muralitharan also believes that England will have a tough time ahead of them when they come to defend the Ashes in the 2006-07 summer. He pointed towards the differences in bowling conditions between Australia and England as an area where the English will struggle.
“It’s unlikely the English bowlers will be able to get the same seam bowling with the Kookaburra balls…they do not have as high a seam as the Duke balls they use in England,” he said. “The Australians are used to the extra bounce on their wickets.” www.sportal.com.au
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