Former Australia skipper Ian Chappell believes that Ravichandran Ashwin is a better spinner as compared to Nathan Lyon. Chappell also highlighted how Lyon is scored off through the onside when he is bowling to the right-handers and this is why Ashwin has an edge over Lyon. Ashwin has taken 409 wickets in 78 Tests at an average of 24.69, including 30 five-wicket hauls and seven 10-wicket hauls. He is also India”s fourth-highest wicket-taker in the longest format.
“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,” said Chappell on ESPNcricinfo’s program ‘Run Order’.
However, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said that he has a problem with people terming Ashwin as all-time great as he does not have enough five-wicket hauls outside India.
“One basic problem I have with Ashwin is that when you look at SENA countries, places where Indians find themselves outside their comfort zone, it’s amazing to see that he doesn’t have a single five-wicket haul. Not one five-wicket haul in all these countries,” said Manjrekar on the same program.
“The other thing – you talk about him running through sides on Indian pitches, when pitches are suited to his kind of bowling. But in the last four years, Ravindra Jadeja has matched him with wicket-taking ability throughout a series. So, Ashwin is not a guy who soars above the others. And interestingly, in the last series against England, Axar Patel got more wickets than Ashwin on similar pitches. That is my problem with accepting Ashwin as an all-time great,” he added.
Chappell was quick to point out how Ashwin is like former West Indies legend Joel Garner and not taking enough five-wicket hauls does not matter as India has a quality attack.
“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,” said Chappell.
“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,” he added.
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