Rajasthan Royals coach Paddy Upton was tight-lipped about the controversial dismissal of the well-set Jos Buttler during Kings XI Punjab’s win over the home side on Monday.
The South African was less than pleased with how events unfolded at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Ashwin controversially decided to ‘Mankad’ Buttler in the 13th over of the game. The third umpire judged gave the decision in the fielding team’s favour, triggering an extraordinary collapse in the Rajasthan ranks.
Upton was seen exchanging words with Ashwin after the game. “I think [Ravichandran] Ashwin’s actions tonight speak for him and represent him,” he said.
Social media was divided over the dismissal. Former and current England players hit out against Ashwin for playing “against the spirit of the game” while the rule states that the bowler was playing by the rules.
“When I looked in the eyes of his teammates, I’m not sure it represented his teammates,” Upton added.
“We’ll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that’s the kind of thing they want to see, and we’ll leave it up to the cricket world to judge R Ashwin’s actions tonight. But for us, we certainly are here just to play cricket and entertain the fans and just be good role models for people who love the game.”
Buttler was going strong before he was given his marching orders. Buttler was on 69 and Rajasthan were cruising at 108/1 in the 13th over chasing 185. The Englishman’s dismissal sparked a collapse.
“Jos Buttler was amazing while he was batting and for a lot of the game we batted like we wanted and really set ourselves up for victory,” Upton said.
“I thought the players were able to stay focussed and reset themselves after that run out. I was very happy with the players themselves, the way they acted and responded to that situation. And our concious decision was to hold our heads up high and maintain our dignity as a team.”
The new International Cricket Council rules state that the bowler does not have to warn the batsman before removing the bails at the non-striker’s end in such a scenario. “I would still like to go and have a close look at the legality of it,” Upton observed.
“But for us, the reality is Ashwin appealed and the umpire gave it out. That’s what we need to deal with. As I said, his actions represent him and speak for himself and it’s upto the fans and the cricket world to judge for themselves. And the legality is a separate issue, and probably a lot of teams are going to look more closely at that issue. I’d like to hope that the rest of the IPL continues in the spirit that we’re all here to come here and enjoy.”
During the post-match press conference, Ashwin said that that the decision to mankad Buttler was instinctive. “No real argument to that [Mankading incident] and it’s pretty instinctive,” he said.
“I actually didn’t load and he left the crease. That’s always been my take on it because it’s my half of the crease. I was not even at the crease, he wasn’t even looking at me and he just left the place.”