'How many fifers Joel Garner has?' Chappell responds to Manjrekar, explains why Ashwin is among the best at the moment
- Australian great Ian Chappell, while responding to Sanjay Manjrekar's comments, explained why Ashwin is one of the best bowlers currently and cited Joel Garner's example.
Recently, former Team India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar opined that he has a problem with senior India off-spinner R Ashwin being termed as an all-time great because of his record in SENA countries- South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia. Manjrekar argued that the lanky spinner does not have a single five-wicket haul in these countries.
Moreover, he also observed that Ashwin's counterpart, Ravindra Jadeja has matched him shoulder to shoulder in India. Cricketer-turned-commentator Manjrekar further commented that in India's 3-1 Test series win against England at home earlier in 2021, Axar Patel bagged 27 wickets in three matches, while Ashwin pocketed 32 wickets in four games.
Manjrekar's comments came while speaking on an ESPNCricinfo show. In the same panel was present Australian great Ian Chappell, who countered and disagreed with 55-year-old Manjrekar by citing West Indies legend Joel Garner's example.
Chappell observed that just because Garner did not bag a high number of five-wicket hauls, it did not mean that he did not create an impact and that a lot of it had to do with the fact that his teammates were equally potent wicket-takers.
Seventy-seven-year-old Chappell also affirmed that Axar left the English batsmen clueless because their primary focus was on Ashwin.
"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. 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.
During the same discussion, Australia's veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon's name surfaced multiple times. Chappell explained why Ashwin is a better bowler than 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, 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," concluded Chappell.
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.