Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar does not think Ashwin is one of the all-time great spinners, one of the reasons being he has an underwhelming record in the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries, where he does not boast of even a single five-wicket haul. Manjrekar adds that even in the home series against England, Ravindra Jadeja has matched him with wicket-taking abilities.
"When people start talking about him as being one of the all-time greats of the game then I have a few problems. One basic problem I have with Ashwin is that when you look at SENA countries, Ashwin doesn't have a single five-wicket haul there. 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," Manjrekar said in a show on ESPNCricinfo.
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.
Ashwin has picked up 39 wickets at 29.97 in SENA countries since 2017, having played five more Tests than Jadeja, who has 23 scalps at 26.47. However, in the same period Ashwin has been absolutely dominant at home, having scalped 105 wickets at 21.89 in 20 Tests. Jadeja, on the other hand, has played 16 Tests in which he has picked up 67 wickets at 22.58.
Both Ashwin and Jadeja are expected to be part of the playing XI in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand along with three frontline pacers.