Ravichandran Ashwin, veteran Indian bowler, and Sanjay Manjrekar, Indian cricket commentator, got into a friendly game of tweets referring to the 2005 popular Tamil movie Anniyan or Aparichith.
The off-spinner had shared the meme of the Tamil movie as a response to Manjrekar saying that Ashwin cannot be seen as an all-time great in the field. The meme, loosely translated, meant, “Don’t say that Chari [movie character], my heart aches.”
The former Indian batsman followed with a response using the reference of the same movie. He tweeted, “Also Chaari, my heart aches to see simple, straightforward, cricketing assessments kick up a fuss…”
Also Chaari, my heart aches to see simple, straightforward, cricketing assessments kick up a fuss these days??? https://t.co/7r7SNqpQq3
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) June 8, 2021
The controversy began when Manjrekar said Ashwin was not good enough for the “all-time great” tag yet in an interview with ESPNCricinfo on Sunday. Manjrekar had justified his argument by saying Ashwin does not have a single five-wicket haul, or ‘fifer’, in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia). A five-wicket haul refers to a bowler taking five or more wickets in a single innings.
He later tweeted that cricketers like Don Bradman, Garfield Sobers, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and others can be considered as all-time greats, but Ashwin was “not quite there yet”.
This is not the first time that Manjrekar’s comments have pulled him into a controversy. In March 2020, he was taken off from the Board of Control for Cricket’s (BCCI) world feed commentary panel for the ODI series against South Africa. Many had speculated that the decision had come after his controversial comment during World Cup 2019 when he had termed Ravindra Jadeja a “bits and pieces cricketer”.
#SanjayManjrekar removed by BCCI, He has –
✅ made a sly tweet on Saurav Ganguly, insinuating that he doesn't let other commentators speak
✅ called Jadeja a bits and pieces player
— Krishan Gopal ⍟ (@gopala_writes) March 14, 2020
While the pandemic led to the suspension of the ODI series, Manjrekar had written to the BCCI to reinstate him as a commentator in August 2020, Indian Express reported.
Ashwin is India’s fourth-highest-wicket-taker in the longest format. As of March 2021, he has taken 30 five-wicket hauls in international cricket. In his Test debut in 2011 against West Indies, Ashwin had taken nine wickets with a five-wicket haul in the second innings, making him the man of the match. In 2016, the former renowned Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan had described Ashwin as the “best current Test Spinner”.