Mumbai, April 10: R Ashwin is always ready to explore the rules of the game to their full extent. The India spinner used a new mode of legal dismissal on Sunday, by ‘retiring’ in Rajasthan Royals’ IPL 2022 match against Lucknow Super Giants at Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.
He became the first batsman to “retire” in IPL history.
Ashwin, who has been famous for removing the non-striker for going too far back (an earlier mode of dismissal called ‘Mankading’), added the term ‘retired’ to the cricket lexicon, using the rules that allow a batsman to finish his innings for his counts without the intervention of the opposition bowlers.
It was a well thought out tactical move by Rajasthan Royals for a batsman to get up off the ground in the penultimate over so that a better finisher can come in and hit the ball multiple times to increase his score.
It was unclear if it was a plan for this game and it was agreed, but Ashwin, after driving Avesh Khan to cover a single, kept running after completing the run and stopped only after reaching the locker room. The fact that Riyan Parag came out to bat immediately means the team expected such a move from Ashwin.
His batting partner at the time, Shimron Hetmyer hit Khan for six in succession and Parag also hit a big six before coming out, going for another big in the game’s penultimate delivery.
Hetmyer said he had no idea Ashwin would strategically withdraw in the match. “I had no idea about this, it was a very good decision that turned out well.” Former West Indies great Ian Bishop called it a “fascinating T20 tactic”, former England captain Michael Vaughan loved it, and former Australia cricketer Lisa Sthalekar said it makes sense to get out of that way.
“Ashwin retiring is a fascinating T20 tactic. T20 is making us rethink the way we conceive of the 21st century game,” Bishop tweeted.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted that he “loved it”, while former Australian cricketer and commentator Lisa Sthalekar said the move “makes a lot of sense”.
“Retired OUT…it was only a matter of time before we saw him at #IPL2022 Makes a lot of sense,” said Sthalekar.
How much this move helped Rajasthan Royals is debatable, as Parag could only score eight in four deliveries and Rajsthan Royals managed a modest 165/6 from 20 overs, recovering from 67/4 at one point.
It looked like the Royals could have reached the same total even if Ashwin hadn’t pulled this trick, as it was Hetmyer who was on strike and hammered sixes on successive balls to increase the score.
Ashwin, who shot 28, could have done the same thing Parag did, shooting eight for four, since he had already thrown two sixes during his cameo.
The all-rounder has highlighted a new tactical move for IPL teams as they can have a ‘retired’ batsman to send someone else in for a quick score boost.