Friday, 13 December, 2002, 09:11 GMT Murali 'best bowler ever'
Muttiah Muralitharan has been revealed as the top Test bowler in
history, ranking alongside top batsman Don Bradman, according to
cricket bible Wisden.
Wisden's statistical analysis of every single Test match put the Sri
Lankan three places ahead of his Australian spin rival Shane Warne.
Between them are New Zealand's Richard Hadlee, and Sydney Barnes,
whose 189 for England between 1901/02 - 1913/14 brought an average of
16.43 - the lowest of 20th century Test cricketers.
In 78 Tests, Muralitharan has 437 wickets - third behind Courtney
Walsh and Warne - at an average of 23.52.
His ranking, "emphasises the lone-wolf role he has played in Sri
Lankan cricket for so long," according to Wisden.com editor Steven
Muralitharan, currently in Brisbane with the Sri Lanka side, was
surprised by the news.
"No.1 is a great honour and I don't rank myself so high," he said.
The spinner has been dogged by accusations of throwing, but his
bowling action has been cleared due to a con***ly deformed arm.
"What I have gone through shouldn't happen to any other bowler,
whether it be Brett Lee or Shoaib Akhtar," he said.
"It is very hard to keep going when everyone is looking at you all the
time but everything is past and gone."
Bradman without equal
Bradman is followed by Sachin Tendulkar of India and West Indian pair
Viv Richards and Garfield Sobers. Australia's Allan Border, with the
most Test career runs with 11,174, is fifth.
The list's compilers took such factors as the strength of opposition
and the importance of each performance. Players were also rewarded for
consistency over long careers.
"The expected score for a top performer was around 1000 points - and
The Don managed 1349," said ***.
"Just like his fabulous Test batting average of 99.94, this deservedly
left him way clear of the field."
Wisden caused controversy two years ago when its statistical ranking
of the top 100 Test innings did not include a single appearance by
Indian legend Tendulkar.
Richards was reckoned the best batsman in one-day international
cricket, while Pakistan's Wasim Akram is the best limited-overs
1 DG Bradman (Aus) 1349.0 pts
2 SR Tendulkar (Ind) 921.5
3 IVA Richards (WI) 913.9
4 GA Sobers (WI) 912.0
5 AR Border (Aus) 911.2
1 M Muralitharan (SL) 1320.4
2 RJ Hadlee (NZ) 1232.9
3 SF Barnes (Eng) 1209.3
4 SK Warne (Aus) 1195.8
5 CV Grimmett (Aus) 1184.8
1 IVA Richards (WI) 1132.5
2 SR Tendulkar (Ind) 1119.3
3 BC Lara (WI) 1036.8
4 DM Jones (Aus) 1022.1
5 MG Bevan (Aus) 1016.7
1 Wasim Akram (Pak) 1223.5
2 AA Donald (SA) 1180.1
3 Waqar Younis (Pak) 1167.1
4 GD McGrath (Aus) 1165.9
5 J Garner (WI) 1160.7