Sydney, May 28  India’s ace off-spinner R Ashwin can break Muttiah Muralitharan’s record for most Test wickets, former Australia spinner Brad Hogg has said. Ashwin, 34, who has 409 wickets from 78 matches, is 391 wickets behind the former Sri Lankan offie who has 800 Test scalps.

“Ashwin is 34 now. I think he will probably play till 42 in Tests. I think his batting might drop off but he’ll be more lethal with the ball with the time passing by. I can see him pushing 600+ Test wickets at least. He might even break Muttiah Muralitharan’s record [of 800 Test wickets] as well,” said Hogg.

“The reason why I think he’s so good because he is adaptable and his hunger of continuing to grow up as a cricketer. He also played county cricket to get used to England conditions and that’s how he has become so successful especially in recent years,” added Hogg while speaking to Times Now.

Hogg called Ashwin a chess player on the field and admired the courage he showed on the last tour in Australia.

“Ashwin doesn’t like to be beaten whenever he’s in a contest. He is someone you want to play against because
you know you’re going to be tested and you can test him as well. I think he’s a very good chess player out on the cricket field. I have respect for Ashwin especially after he showed the courage of playing in tough conditions in Australia in the last tour. It’s a privilege to play against him and he’s been brilliant,” added Hogg, who played seven Test matches and 120 ODIs as well as 15 T20Is for Australia.

Hogg, a former Chinaman bowler, rated Ashwin above fellow Australian Nathan Lyon but said he wouldn’t be the greatest off-spinner of all time even if he gets to 800 wickets because of change in rules and conditions.

“He’s definitely the best off-spinner in the world right now but we can’t call him the greatest off-spinner of all time due to the change of rules and conditions.”

The Australian refused to agree with the view that pitches during England series in India, in which Ashwin took 32 wickets to win man-of-the-match award, were unsporting.

Hogg, in fact, called for similar pitches during IPL.

“It’s really good to see spinners opening the bowling in a Test match. Moreover, I would like to see a track like that even in IPL. I would love to watch how spinners are going to be treated by the batters in the 20-over game,” the 50-year-old said.

“Look at Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara. They always dominate all over the world because they know how to adapt to different conditions. I think English batsmen were not able to adapt to the conditions in the 3rd Test and I’ll agree with all other spinners in the world that we need more pitches like this to change the dynamic of the game,” he added.

Source: IANS