Ravichandran Ashwin became the first player to be ‘retired out’ during an Indian Premier league (IPL) on Sunday, making way for a more attacking batter to accelerate the scoring, and pundits predict more teams will adopt the tactic. Promoted to number six in the Rajasthan Royals order, Ashwin made 28 off 23 balls before willingly walking off in the 19th over, much to the bemusement of the rival Lucknow Super Giants players. Riyan Parag came in to bat and wasted little time, making eight off four balls, including a six, as Rajasthan went on to win the match by three runs.
“It was the right time to do that,” head coach Kumar Sangakkara told reporters after Rajasthan recorded their third win in four matches, putting them top of the points table.
“Ashwin himself was asking from the field as well, and we had discussed it just before that, as to what we would do.
“I thought the way Ashwin handled that situation, walking in under pressure, the way he batted to support the team, and then finally sacrificed himself in terms of being retired out, was just magnificent.”
Bhutan’s Sonam Tongbay is the only batsman to be ‘retired out’ in an international match, walking off against Maldives at the 2019 South Asian Games.
Fans on social media found it fitting that Ashwin was involved in the ploy.
The 35-year-old off-spinner has bowled leg-breaks in domestic cricket to deceive batsmen and has even been known to try to run out non-strikers if they back up too far.
West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite is among those who think more teams may employ the tactic in Twenty20 cricket.
“I think it was gutsy from Rajasthan,” Brathwaite told ESPNcricinfo website.
“I think moving forward, it’s something we’ll probably see a lot more of … It’s something that will become a part of the game.”
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