Taking to his official Twitter account on Sunday, Manjrekar wrote, “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. #AllTimeGreatExplained."
Earlier, Manjrekar, during a discussion on the ESPNcricinfo programme 'Runorder’ said that he had a problem with Ashwin being termed an all-time great owing to his record in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries. Manjrekar was heard saying, "When people start talking about him as being one of the all-time greats of the game then I have a few problems."
"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," he added.
However, Aussie legend Ian Chappell defended Ashwin and pointed out that even Joel Garner did not claim many five-wicket hauls, but was a great bowler nonetheless. Chappell responded, "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 discussion, Chappell also rated Ashwin as a better bowler than Australia’s Nathan Lyon. He explained, "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."
--By A Cricket Correspondent