Sanjay Manjrekar says that the “basic problem” which niggles him when people put Ashwin in the most elite category is that the off-spinner doesn’t have an outstanding record in the SENA countries that is South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia.
While Ashwin’s bowling on the last Australia tour was terrific and looked the best he ever did in SENA, picking up 12 wickets, thrice including that of Steve Smith, in 3 Tests. His overall record, however, in those countries – bowling average of 40.11 – isn’t one to marvel at.
The off-spinner has taken 30 five-wicket hauls in his career – 24 of which came in India, 3 in Sri Lanka, 2 in West Indies, and 1 in Bangladesh – none in the SENA countries, which is what Sanjay Manjrekar underlines heavily.
“When people start talking about him as being one of the all-time greats of the game then I have a few problems. One basic problem I have with Ashwin is that when you look at SENA countries, Ashwin doesn’t have a single five-wicket haul there,” Sanjay Manjrekar said on ESPNcricinfo.
Jadeja has matched him with wicket-taking abilities: Sanjay Manjrekar
The 55-year-old observed that Ravindra Jadeja goes neck and neck with Ashwin while bowling in India. Jadeja’s bowling average of 21.06 at home is slightly better than that of Ashwin’s 21.89, although in lesser matches and wickets; and that of 35.12 in SENA is also better than Ashwin’s 40.11.
Further, Sanjay Manjrekar cited the example of the recent home Test series against England; he compared Ashwin’s 32 wickets in 4 Tests at 14.71 to that of debutant Axar Patel’s 27 wickets in 3 Tests at just 10.59.
“And the other thing when you talk about him running through sides on Indian pitches that are suited to his kind of bowling is that in the last four years, Jadeja has matched him with wicket-taking abilities.
“Then, interestingly, in the last series against England, Axar Patel got more wickets than Ashwin on similar pitches. So that is my problem with accepting Ashwin as a real all-time great,” the former batsman further stated.
The 34-year-old will have the opportunity to improve his record overseas in the upcoming 6 Test matches – the WTC final and the 5-Test series – in England.