|Event:||ICC World Cup 2006/07|
DateLine: 23rd February 2007
Sri Lankan spin king Muttiah Muralitharan believes the 1996 World Cup winning team was better than the side which is about to challenge for the 2007 version in the Caribbean.
Murali insists that the team which was led by Arjuna Ranatunga to a shock victory 11 years ago was a stronger batting unit, blessed with a series of experienced attacking players.
"Some experts are tipping us to surprise a few at the World Cup and maybe even win it. I think we have a good chance but I still believe the Sri Lanka team of 1996 was better," said the 34-year-old whose haul of 432 one-day victims makes him a key player ahead of the competition.
"When we won the World Cup in 1996, batting-wise the team was more experienced, had flair, everything was there in that team in 1996.
"This team now has a better bowling attack than what we had that time but we had a better balance in the 1996 World Cup because there were four spinners in the side and only two fast bowlers," the off-spinner told www.bigstarcricket.com.
Despite his incredible international record, Muralitharan believes spinners will struggle to make an impression in the Caribbean where Sri Lanka have been drawn in Group B along with India, Bangladesh and Bermuda.
"The rules have changed now with the 20-over power plays coming so the spinners go out of the game, you can't play two or three spinners any more," he said.
"We have only one spinner at the moment so fast bowlers have more chance (of success) because they bowl in the power play."
(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)