Kolkata: Sanjay Manjrekar, former Indian batsman-turned-TV pundit, has rubbed another top Indian cricketer the wrong way - Ravi Ashwin. Speaking in an YoubTube show recently, Manjrekar said he had ‘‘a few problems’’ in calling the senior off spinner an all-time great - a comment which prompted a bittersweet twitter war with the player.
Manjrekar, somewhat on the defensive, quote tweeted Ashwin’s meme from a Tamil film - saying his was a ‘‘simple, straightforward” cricketing assessment that created undue fuss. This is not the first time that the Mumbai-based former Indian star has courted controversy as during the last ICC World Cup in 2019, he called Ravindra Jadeja a ‘‘bits-and-pieces’’ cricketer and not a genuine allrounder - something which the latter didn’t take to kindly.
“’All-time great’ is the highest praise & acknowledgement given to a cricketer. Cricketers like Don Bradman, Sobers, Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Virat etc are all time greats in my book. With due respect, Ashwin not quite there as an all-time great yet,” Manjrekar had tweeted on Sunday.
“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 had said in his interview earlier.
“One basic problem that I have with Ashwin is that when you look at SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia), 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.
“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,” he said.
A quick-witted guy, Ashwin quote-tweeted Manjrekar’s tweet with a meme from a Tamil film ‘Aparachith.’ The meme shows lead actor Vikram says to Vivek “Apdi solladha da Chaari (Vivek), manasu vallikudhu”. It roughly translates to: “Don’t say like that Chaari (Vivek), my heart is aching”.