Sanjay Manjrekar (L) talks about Ravichandran Ashwin after KKR vs DC Qualifier.
Sanjay Manjrekar has expressed his frustration with people dwelling too much on Ravichandran Ashwin‘s T20 bowling skills. The former batsman remarked on Thursday that he’ll never even have somebody like Ashwin in his T20 team and instead have a “wicket-taker” like Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine.
Sanjay Manjrekar’s comments came shortly after Delhi Capitals (DC)’s three-wicket defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in IPL 2021 Qualifier 2 on Wednesday night. Ashwin, who was introduced early, was economical in his first three overs and picked up two wickets in the 20th over of KKR’s chase. However, Rahul Tripathi hit a half-tracker from him for a straight six to win the game for KKR under pressure.
In an interaction with ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar said:
“We have spent far too much talking about Ashwin. Ashwin, the T20 bowler, is not a great force in any team. And if you want Ashwin to change, I don’t think that’s going to happen because he’s been like this for the last five-seven years. I can understand us dwelling on Ashwin in Test matches where he’s fantastic. Him not playing a single Test match in England was a travesty. But to spend so much time on Ashwin when it comes to IPL and T20 cricket.”
Sanjay Manjrekar added:
“I think he has shown us in the last five years that he’s bowled exactly the same and I would never have somebody like Ashwin in my team because if I got turning pitches, I would expect people like Varun Chakrvarthy or Sunil Narine or [Yuzvendra] Chahal and how they do their job, they get you wickets.”
Sanjay Manjrekar also said that no franchise will want to keep Ashwin in their team if he just focusses on keeping the runs down. He explained:
“Ashwin has not been a wicket-taker in T20 cricket for long and I don’t think a franchise wants Ashwin in the team just to keep the runs down.”
Ashwin came under criticism before the Qualifier as well. IPL 2021 was his worst season with the ball as he took just seven wickets at an average of 47.29. Former players like Gautam Gambhir have advised him to stick with his stock ball without experimenting too much to be successful.
Ashwin’s two wickets against KKR, though, came while using his old trickeries – via round-arm skidding balls to Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine. It’ll be interesting to see how the veteran spinner approaches the upcoming T20 World Cup after such a performance.
“Dinesh Karthik is carrying on a bit longer than he should” – Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar was also scathing in his criticism of KKR wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, who scored a duck in the match. Manjrekar said KKR taking the game deep against DC was not only about pressure but also about the quality of players like Karthik, who are carrying on playing “longer than they should”.
Sanjay Manjrekar remarked:
“It’s not just only about pressure. If you see the batters who came in there at the end stages, you had Dinesh Karthik, who has clearly shown signs that he’s not in his prime and is carrying on a bit longer than he should. You can see in the way he’s keeping wickets as well. Morgan, he’s just completely lost it with his batting… and Shakib al Hasan who’s hardly played a game. Pressure is one thing but match form, self confidence [matter too]…”
With the win, KKR entered their third final in IPL history. They’ll meet Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Friday in Dubai to decide the winner of the coveted IPL 2021 trophy.