Ravichandran Ashwin became the first player to be ‘eliminated’ during an Indian Premier League (IPL) on Sunday, giving way to a more offensive batter to speed up the scoring, and experts predict more teams will adopt this tactic. Promoted to number six in the Rajasthan Royals order, Ashwin made 28 from 23 balls before willingly walking away in the 19th, much to the dismay of the rival Lucknow Super Giants players. Riyan Parag came in to bat and wasted little time making eight from four balls, including a six, while Rajasthan won the game 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 games, putting them at the top of the points list.
“Ashwin himself asked from the field, and we were just talking about what we were going to do.
“I thought the way Ashwin handled that situation, coming in under pressure, the way he punched to support the team and ultimately sacrificed himself in terms of getting knocked out was just fantastic.”
Sonam Tongbay of Bhutan is the only batsman to be ‘eliminated’ in an international match as he runs away against the Maldives at the 2019 South Asian Games.
Fans on social media thought it fitting that Ashwin was involved in the ruse.
The 35-year-old off-spinner has bowled broken legs in domestic cricket to deceive batsmen and has even been known to try and knock out non-attackers if they back down too far.
West Indian all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite is among those who think more teams could use the tactic in Twenty20 cricket.
“I think it was guts from Rajasthan,” Brathwaite told the ESPNcricinfo website.
“I think as we move forward, it’s something that we’re probably going to see a lot more of… It’s something that’s going to become part of the game.”
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