Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell

Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has rubbished Sanjay Manjrekar’s comments on Ravichandran Ashwin not being one of the all-time greats of the game.

Ian Chappell praises Ashwin

Manjrekar has said that senior Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is not one of the all-time greats as he does not boast of having registered a fifer in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand & Australia) countries.

“When people start talking about him as being one of the all-time greats of the game then I have a few problems,” Manjrekar said on the ESPNcricinfo program ‘Runorder’.

“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.

“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.

R Ashwin became the fastest bowler to take 300 Test wickets (54th match)
R Ashwin became the fastest bowler to take 300 Test wickets (54th match)

“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,” Manjrekar concluded.

Not convinced with Manjrekar’s observation, Chappell, the astute captain of his time, cited Garner, one of the most feared fast bowlers of all time, as an example.

“I would like to make a couple of points there — if you look at Joel Garner, I mean how many five-wicket hauls Joel Garner has? Not many, when you consider how good he was and his record. And why, because he was performing with three other very, very fine players,” Chappell pointed out as Manjrekar listened.

Ashwin reached the 400 wickets club in the 3rd Test match of India vs England Test series
Ashwin reached the 400 wickets club in the 3rd Test match of India vs England Test series

“And I think, particularly of late, I find that the Indian attack has been so strong that the wickets are being shared around more.

“And the other point I would make is because of Ashwin’s reputation I think the England players probably concentrated more on keeping Ashwin out and with Axar Patel, well, let’s be blunt about it, they didn’t have a bloody clue,” Chappell added.

Besides Ashwin, the former Australian captain picked Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, and Kagiso Rabada among the top-five best bowlers right now, while keeping Pat Cummins at the top of the list.

Ashwin better than Lyon

He rated Ashwin ahead of Australia’s off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

“I think Ashwin is a better bowler than Nathan Lyon. Have a look at Nathan Lyon’s strike rate, you are in the 70s and I am going back to 2018.

Nathan Lyon
Nathan Lyon

“Nathan Lyon, to me, I think runs get scored through the onside when he is bowling to the right-handers and that really just shouldn’t happen. Yes, he is a fine bowler but I think Ashwin is a better bowler.”

As far as Ishant is concerned, Chappell is very impressed with his record since the start of 2018.

“Ishant’s record in the last I think I went back to the start of 2018 and looking at some stats and his record is extremely good,” Chappell said. Ishant Sharma has taken 77 wickets in 22 Tests since 2018.

Thirty-four-year-old Ashwin possesses a stellar record in Tests. He has 409 wickets to his name in 78 matches at an average of 24.69, including 30 five-wicket hauls in an innings and seven 10-wicket hauls in a Test match.

He’s also India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker currently, only nine behind Harbhajan Singh, 26 behind Kapil Dev, and 211 behind Anil Kumble.