Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar defended his comment about Ravichandran Ashwin’s place in the list of all-time greats, saying the off-spinner is “not quite there yet”. Manjrekar said the likes of Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Don Bradman and Gary Sobers are some names whom he would place in the list of all-time greats.

Manjrekar’s explanation come after he faced criticism on social media for his comments about R Ashwin. The former batsman came up with social media post on Sunday afternoon, explaining his take.

“‘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,” Manjrekar said.

Screengrab from Twitter

Earlier, Manjrekar had said he has “problems” when people categorise Ashwin in the list of all-time greats. The cricketer-turned commentator pointed fingers at Ashwin’s records in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries to suggest he doesn’t belong there. Manjrekar also said young left-arm spinner Axar Patel surpassed the senior-off spinner during the home series against England earlier this year.

“When people start talking about him as being one of the all-time greats of the game then I have a few problems,” Manjrekar said on the ESPNcricinfo programme ‘Runorder’.

“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.

Notably, Manjrekar had called all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja a ‘bits and pieces cricketer’ in 2019 before the India star responded with a sharply-worded social media post.

Manjrekar conceded that Jadeja had proved him wrong with his performance in the semi-final of 2019 World Cup wherein the all-rounder’s valiant effort with the bat went in vain.

“Still i have played twice the number of matches you have played and i m still playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved.i have heard enough of your verbal diarrhoea,” Jadeja had said.

“Bits and pieces he just ripped me apart today. By bits and pieces of sheer brilliance just proved me wrong on all fronts. But this Ravindra Jadeja we have not seen very often. In the last 40 innings his highest score was 33,” Manjrekar told the ICC after India’s defeat in London.

“But today he was brilliant. Economical with the ball, and that familiar celebration that you see after he gets to his fifties,” he added.

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