Regardless of questions regarding the benefits his elbow deformity gave his bowling action, I still think Warne was the better bowler. Murali may have 792 wickets but 176 of those were against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (Warne only played 3 tests against these teams and got 17 wickets). Removing those 176 wickets puts Murali on not much more than Warne’s 708. On top of this Murali was prolific in home tests which were doctored for spin. Warne got wickets everywhere, against everybody and in all conditions.
Murali was a genius bowler and came across as a really nice guy, but for me Warne was the better bowler. Warne also had no equivalent physical advantage to Murali’s elbow (I don’t agree that Murali was a ‘chucker’, but his bent elbow must have helped him generate more pace than he would otherwise have achieved). Combine extra pace with the incredible spin he generated by combining finger spin and wrist, and that’s a pretty lethal mix.
It’s a shame he’s retiring, though. He was incredible to watch, and he wound up the Aussies no end which is always an added bonus .