On Wednesday, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin became the leading wicket-taker of the World Test Championship tournament with a total of 71 scalps under his name between 2019 and 2021 during which he appeared in 14 international matches for his country.
Walking into Southampton’s Ageas Bowl stadium on the Reserve Day of the WTC final, Ashwin already had 69 wickets to his name before he went on to dismiss New Zealand openers Tom Latham and Devon Conway for the 70th and 71st scores, respectively.View this post on Instagram
Throughout the season, the 34-year old when on to have four five-wicket hauls and his best single-innings performance came against South Africa at home when he had himself a seven-wicket haul while giving away 145 runs in the first innings of the first Test which was held at Visakhapatnam between 2-6 October 2019.
As remarkable as this achievement is, an iconic moment, just ahead of the WTC final, had taken place in which former Indian batsman turned cricket analyst, Sanjay Manjrekar had remarked why he feels Ashwin was not an ‘all-time great’ cricketer.
"Ravichandran Ashwin, with due respect to him, I think he's a great guy at what he does, but when people start talking about him as one of the all-time greats, I have a few problems with that," Manjrekar said.
"One basic problem that I have with Ashwin is that when you look at SENA, the countries for batsmen and bowlers, places where Indians find themselves outside their comfort zone - it's amazing that he doesn't have a single five-wicket haul. Not one five-wicket haul in all these countries," he added in the video.View this post on Instagram
"The other thing - you talk about him running through sides on Indian pitches, when pitches are suited to his kind of bowling. But in the last four years, (Ravindra) Jadeja has matched him with wicket-taking ability throughout a series.
"So, Ashwin is not a guy who soars above the others. And interestingly, in the last series against England, Axar Patel got more wickets than Ashwin on similar pitches. That is my problem with accepting Ashwin as an all-time great."
And even though India lost the clash against the Black Caps to lift the Test Mace, Ashwin’s individual achievement was enough for the fans to revisit Manjrekar’s comments and give him a nice, trolly Twitter greeting:
Jadeja became number 1 test all-rounder today and Ashwin has taken 2 out of 2 wickets to become the leading wicket taker of WTC. Power to Sanjay Manjrekar.— Aayush (@aayushhsays) June 23, 2021June 23, 2021
If Ashwin could bowl this well without being a GOAT in the books of Manjrekar, imagine how well he would be performing if he had passed the meter set by Sanju Manju.— Balaji Santhanagopalan (@Balaji_itsme) June 23, 2021
And imagined people questioned Ashwin’s inclusion. On this wicket he has picked up 4 wickets. Imagine the quality Ashwin is. Sanjay Manjrekar is delusional to say the least, or may be says things to be in the news.— Avi (@Avi_shastri) June 23, 2021
Manjrekar has the power to turn any player into a superstar and it's not even funny
The entire jadeja incident and now Ashwin
Keep it up my G@sanjaymanjrekar