Reacting to Sanjay Manjrekar’s ‘problem’ in acknowledging India spinner R Ashwin as a ‘real all-time great’, batsman Abhinav Mukund has disagreed with the former India batsman and called the off-spinner a ‘legend’.
In a discussion on ESPNCricinfo, Manjrekar laid out his points as to why he is not comfortable with Ashwin being called an all-time great, explaining how India’s premier off-spinner is yet to pick up a five-wicket-haul in SENA nations (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia), but Mukund feels simply based on the impact that he’s had on the team and his terrific overall record, Ashwin deserved to be called a legend in every stretch of the imagination.
“He just loves the game. Ashwin is actually a guy who will research everything there is to cricket. He just needs to be one of those very-well prepared individuals who go on to a cricket field and that kind of shows in the way he has performed, especially in Test match cricket. He’s been fantastic,” Mukund told stand-up comedian Sorabh Pant on his YouTube channel ‘Wake Up With Sorabh’.
“I read an article today where Sanjay Manjrekar said that ‘I disagree that he is a legend of the game’. I have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Manjrekar and say he is a legend of the game because he holds several world records.”
With 404 wickets, Ashwin is fourth on the list of India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests and he’s played only 78 Tests so far. With 30 five-wicket-hauls, he is next only to the great Anil Kumble, who has 35 of those. Ashwin’s record overseas may not be as intimidating as it is on Indian soil, but the off-spinner has improved remarkably. He was in fine form during India’s epic 2-1 Test series win in Australia. So while Ashwin may not be the most threatening in SENA nations, Mukund reckons Ashwin has ticked all boxes required to be right up there.
“The accusation towards him is that he’s never performed in SENA countries. But I think he had a fantastic tour to Australia. If you look at it that way, and if you just look at the number of five-wicket-hauls he’s taken and what an impact he’s been to as a leader, he’s probably one of the legends of the game in my opinion at least,” the left-handed batsman added.