He made this observation while talking about the off-spinner's diminishing returns as a batsman during a discussion on the Sony Sports network.
Sanjay Manjrekar was asked if there is any reason why R Ashwin's batting has gone down considerably since 2017.
The commentator pointed out that the wily spinner could have been categorised as an all-rounder till 2016. He highlighted that R Ashwin's batting average was as good as a specialist batsman in that period.
"Batsmen have an average of 35 and that was Ashwin's average till 2016. So, he was almost playing the role of an all-rounder. He had four centuries, all against West Indies, and 10 fifties for a match-winning bowler."
Manjrekar observed that Ravindra Jadeja grew by leaps and bounds as a batsman starting in 2017 and was sent ahead of R Ashwin in the batting order. The Mumbaikar believes that this acted as a demotivator for the latter.
"But I have a theory that after 2017, Jadeja as a batsman has started to come ahead of him and has developed as a batsman. That means Ashwin's number went a little down and after that I feel his motivation for batting went down."
Sanjay Manjrekar believes Jadeja's rise as a bowler has made R Ashwin concentrate more on his bowling
Sanjay Manjrekar believes R Ashwin focussing more on his bowling could have also resulted in his decline as a batsman. He pointed out that the off-spinner has been forced to go that route due to Jadeja becoming a viable first spinner option in overseas conditions.
"He is also thinking somewhere or the other that he should focus more on his bowling. There is more pressure on his bowling now. Because earlier if one spinner was to be picked, Ashwin was chosen straightaway but now Jadeja is competing with him in Tests."
R Ashwin amassed 1816 runs in his first 44 Test matches at a healthy average of 34.92. These runs included four centuries and ten half-centuries.
But in his last 28 matches, the right-hander has scored just 588 runs at a below-par average of 17.29. He has gone past the 50-run mark just once in this period.
Published 18 Dec 2020, 22:19 IST