'Not the right time': Cricket legend apologises for Shane Warne comment

Sunil Gavaskar (pictured right) during commentary and (pictured left) Shane Warne during Fox Sports commentary.
Sunil Gavaskar (pictured right) has released addressed his ill-timed comments on Shane Warne only hours after his death. (Getty Images)

Cricket great Sunil Gavaskar has apologised for his ill-timed comments regarding Shane Warne and his legacy only hours after his death.

Warne died in Thailand on Saturday after suffering a suspected heart attack in his villa on Koh Samui at the age of 52.

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As tributes flowed around the world for the Australian cricket legend - which has now included Warne's ex-wife - former India captain Gavaskar sparked outrage with his ill-timed comments.

With so many former players and teammates labelling Warne as the greatest spinner of all-time, the legendary Indian captain was asked the same question.

While his response was honest, many labelled it ill-timed.

"No I wouldn't say that. For me, the Indian spinners and Muttiah Muralitharan were certainly better than Shane Warne," Gavaskar said on Indian TV program 'Sports Today' just hours after Warne's death

"Because look at his record against India. His record is pretty ordinary against India. He got five wickets only once in Nagpur.

"Because he didn't have much success against the Indian team, I would rank Muralitharan over him in my book."

Sunil Gavaskar's statement after Shane Warne comment

Following the uproar, Gavaskar took to Instagram to address the situation.

“Last week was a very traumatic time for cricket fraternity as in 24 hours, we lost two of the most iconic cricketers the game has seen - Rodney Marsh and Shane Warne,” he said in the Instagram video.

“On TV, I was asked by an anchor whether Warne was the greatest spinner and I gave my honest opinion. In hindsight, that question should not have been asked nor should it have been answered as it was not the right time for any comparison or evaluation.

“Warne was one of the greatest players to ever grace the game. Rodney Marsh too was one of the greatest wicketkeepers the game has seen. May their souls rest in eternal peace.”

While the debate will continue, the two widely regarded greatest spinners of all-time have interesting records in comparison.

Gavaskar pointed to Warne's record in India as part of the reason he didn't rate him as the greatest spin bowler of all-time.

However, India was the only nation Warne didn't average below 30 with the ball, with the spinner taking 43 wickets at 47.18.

Muralitharan took 105 wickets at 32.16 against India. Against Australia, he took 59 wickets at 36.06.

This average blew out when he travelled to Australia, averaging 75.41.

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