“I read Warnie easily, Murali was harder to face at the beginning of the innings.”- Brain Lara talks about his battles with Warne and Muralitharan.

West Indian greatest and former skipper Brian Lara is one batsman who has easily tamed two of the best spinners of any era, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. Joining the Telegraph, he said that as a result of tennis ball cricket, he became very good at playing spin.


“We played with tennis balls, and you can actually chuck the tennis ball. In softball cricket, you can chuck it into the pitch, turn it a mile. And I felt that was a huge part of understanding how to play spin from an early age. If you were to ask me ‘spin or pace?’ I’ll tell you spin every single day. It just came as something natural.”

Brian Lara admits he struggled to read Muttiah Muralitharan in the opening stages of each innings during which he scored 688 in the 2001 series. Warne has gotten better with age, says the West Indian greatest.

“What Murali didn’t realize is that for the first 20 minutes of every innings, I really was not reading him. I kept sweeping and getting a single, getting off strike. And then eventually you start getting accustomed to what he was doing with the ball and then eventually he lost a bit of confidence maybe.”

“Murali was harder to face at the beginning of the innings. But as I got better out in the middle, Murali knew he could get the rest of the players out so the field would spread and I’d get a single.”

Two of the greatest spinners of all time, Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne, have a chat Pictures Source : Rob Tringali/ESPN

The Trinidadian said Warne became a tough opponent for the faces as he got better with age and experience.

“I read Warnie easily but he became more difficult as he seemed to get better.”

Commenting further, the West Indies legend said he read Warne more than the pitch because it was too late to pick the ball in the second order.

“A lot of people try to read off the pitch. I think that’s a bit too late. So, I’m trying to understand what’s coming out of the bowler’s hand. I read Warnie quite easily. But what made him great was the fact that he never gave up and he was always going to come out and produce something to confuse you.”

Brian Lara and Muttiah Muralitharan will be working together as the coaches of the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise this year.

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