Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin has no regrets in ‘Mankading’ Rajasthan Royals opener Jos Buttler and stated that batsmen “need to be wary” before leaving the crease early.
Ashwin sparked off a huge controversy on Monday when he mankaded Buttler, the first to be dismissed in such a manner in the history of the Indian Premier League.
Ashwin mankaded in the 13th over with the batsman going strong at 69 off 43 balls. The dismissal is sure to raise fresh debate over the spirit of the game as the off-spinner didn’t give the Englishman a prior warning.
But Ashwin said he was completely within his rights to execute such a dismissal, which completely turned the match in Punjab’s favour.
“No real argument on that and it was pretty instinctive,” Ashwin said. “I didn’t even load and he just left the crease. We ended on the right side of the coin, but I definitely think that those are game-changing moments and batsmen need to be wary of it.
“Look it was very instinctive. It wasn’t planned or anything like that. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don’t know from where the understanding of the Spirit of the Game comes from.”
When probed further on whether it affects the spirit of the game, the irritation was palpable on his face. “I don’t understand the point because it’s rules. What applies for one man doesn’t apply for everyone else?” he asked.
There has been a debate whether Ashwin deliberately delayed while loading up on his delivery stride having apprehended that Buttler backs up too far.
“I didn’t even load and he left the crease. It’s always been my take on the crease, because it’s my half of the crease,” he said.
The Punjab skipper lauded his bowlers for bringing the team back into the contest, which they won by 14 runs. “We all know that after six overs it is going to slow down. Credit to bowlers on how they bowled. I have been working on a lot of variations, pretty happy that it came out,” he said.
“Sam [Curran] had a bad day with the ball, but he came back well. Everybody ticked their boxes. We do have a few options amongst us, but if we can have good five overs, there is nothing like it.”
Rajasthan skipper Ajinkya Rahane refused to comment on the dismissal and left it to the match referee to take a call. “We are not supposed to comment on a controversial issue,” he said. “The match referee will take the call. We will take the decision sportively,” he added.
Rahane, too, praised the opposition bowlers for restricting Rajasthan, especially after a superb start to the chase.
“I thought we were batting really well. We started off well at the top and then got another good partnership. Later on we needed 39 off four overs and we thought that could have been done easily,” he said.
“But Kings XI bowled really well in the last three overs. When you are chasing 180 plus, someone has to go really hard.”
Player-of-the-match Chris Gayle, who hit 79 off 47 balls, was happy with his form. “This is a big ground to be honest. I have been in a good form, so it was good to start on a winning note. Sarfaraz [Khan] got some runs today, which was really good,” the West Indian said.
“One thing we discussed before the tournament was to win this IPL for the Universe Boss [referring to himself] and the youngsters have got my backing,” he signed off.