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Kohli is hungry for runs, like Lara, says former England spinner Peter Such

‘My debut was overshadowed by Warne’s ball (of the century)’

It was not just the ball that Peter Such turned on his Test debut.

The England off-spinner turned heads as well, claiming six for 67 against a classy Australian batting line up at Old Trafford in 1993. But, that match is more remembered for the most famous turn of a cricket ball in history – Shane Warne’s ball of the century, the leg-break that clean-bowled Mike Gatting.

“Yes, my debut was overshadowed by Warne’s ball, but I couldn’t have done anything about it,” Such told The Hindu. “I was sitting at the pavilion when it happened, but those days you would only get a square-on view from where the players were, so I had to pop into the dressing room to see what happened. That truly was an unbelievable ball.”

Spin bowling has changed a lot since those days, when Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan and Anil Kumble reigned supreme. “But, there are fine spinners today, too,” said Such, England’s lead national spin bowling coach who has come with the Lions team.

“R. Ashwin and Nathan Lyon are top class bowlers; they are easily the world’s best off-spinners. Ashwin has amazing variety.”

Such’s compatriot Moeen Ali may not be in the same class, but he feels he is a much better bowler than he is given credit for. “He is vastly underrated as a bowler, and he is a very good batsman too, which helps,” he says. “He has enjoyed a lot of success against India, whose batsmen are good players of spin.”

Among those batsmen he has the highest regard for Virat Kohli. “He is without doubt the best batsman in the world,” he says. “What separates him from others is his hunger for runs. He is greedy – I am using that word in a good sense – even. He reminds me of Brian Lara, who too was hungry for runs.”

Such had played against Lara quite a bit on the county circuit.

“But, I rarely could bowl against Sachin Tendulkar, as I never played against India,” he says. “I would have loved to play more Tests for England.”

He played only 11, from which he took 37 wickets. His best figures came in his maiden innings.

“I am proud of that performance, as it was a quality Australian batting side that I bowled to,” he said. “My favourite dismissal was clean-bowling Steve Waugh. It felt nice picking up the wickets of greats like Mark Taylor and Allan Border, too.”

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