General news September 21, 2010

Sobers voices 'reservations' over Warne's ability

ESPNcricinfo staff

Garry Sobers has declared that Shane Warne was overrated and he believes Subhash Gupte, who played for India during the 1950s, was a better legspinner than Warne. Sobers made the assessment in a new book titled In a League of Their Own: 100 Cricket Legends Select Their World XI, where he also delivered a jab at Geoff Boycott's batting style.

"Someone who is called great from today's game is Shane Warne, but I have got my reservations about Shane," Sobers wrote in the book's foreword. "I think he is a great bowler, but I'm not sure how well he compares with spinners overall. I think people get carried away with this man's ability as he hardly ever bowled a good googly.

"To me, Shane Warne is a great turner of the ball. I like his aggressive attitude, I love the way he attacks batsmen and I give him 100% for that as not enough spinners bowl with that approach, but in my estimation Subhash Gupte was a better legspinner."

Sobers and Warne were both selected among the five Wisden cricketers of the century in 2000, along with Don Bradman, Jack Hobbs and Viv Richards. Gupte played 36 Tests from 1951 to 1961 and finished with 149 wickets at 29.55; he only once dismissed Sobers in the five Tests in which they met.

Sobers also aired his thoughts on the batting of Boycott, who along with Ken Barrington was the batsman Sobers dismissed the most times in Test cricket. Boycott only ever made ten ducks in Test cricket and three of those came against the bowling of Sobers.

"Geoffrey was a great player in his own style," Sobers wrote. "He played within his limitations and didn't take too many chances with good balls or even half-good balls. Great players have to take good balls and turn them in to bad balls, but Geoff never seemed to be able to do that."