~~No other ~~legitimate~~ spinner can emulate Warne~~!

Published: Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:No other 'legitimate' spinner can ever come anywhere near Shane Warne's 700-plus Test wicket mark and even if Muttiah Muralitharan manages to better the feat, he won't be in the same league with the Australian, according to legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi.

Bedi was all praise for Warne, who came up with yet another five-wicket haul and recorded his 700th Test wicket by outwitting Andrew Strauss in the fourth Ashes Test against England at Melbourne today.

Heaping praise on the wily leggie, Bedi said Warne's achievement would go down in the history of the game as a Test milestone and described the Australian as a ''phenomenal player.''

''He is a phenomenal player who never gave up. A great spinner, his competitiveness was amazing and getting 700 Test wickets only underlines his greatness,'' Bedi told UNI.

A well-known critic of Muralitharan, Bedi went on to say, ''I think no other legitimate spinner can ever emulate this feat.'' Asked if he was referring to Muralitharan, Bedi, who found the offie's action always a suspect said, ''Obviously, but I don't want to discuss anything about him.''

Pressed for his comment on the Lankan offie, the former India captain said, ''He has been close on the heels with Warne in the race and he might, as it seems, some day exceed the mark. Still, he would never be considered in the same league with Warne.''

With 674 Test wickets under his belt, Muralitharan has been in the neck-and-neck race with Warne before the Aussie broke loose but with the champion leggie retiring after the Ashes, Murali is expected to raise the bar even higher.

And the first indication came when Murali told in an interview to The Island newspaper that he was eyeing 1000 Test wickets, even though it would be a quite tough challenge.

''It's a tough one. I am 34 now and if I go on for another five years without an injury that's possible I guess. But it's depends on my form and how I feel and lot of other things. We'll see,'' Murali told the daily.

And making it clear that it's not his wishful thinking, Murali revealed plans to cut down on ODI commitments once the 2007 World Cup is over.

''The workload is huge and there's no point in playing each and every ODI competition or tournament. I'll just cut down on the ODI matches. It's not that I don't like one-day cricket, but it's just too hectic,'' he said.

Murali also felt that the Lankan selectors need to look beyond him in the shorter version of the game.

''There are couple of other spinners and the selectors should take a look at them as well. I am really impressed with Malinga Bandara, he's done a good job for us. Even Rangana Herath was doing well when I was injured and Upul Chandana has come up with some good efforts at 'A' team level,'' he said.


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