Ashwin gets ‘retired out’, opens debate on the tactical move hitherto unknown in IPL

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R Ashwin is always ready to explore the rules of the game to their full extent. The India spinner on Sunday used a new mode of legal dismissal, getting ‘retired out’ in Rajasthan Royals’ IPL 2022 match against Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium here on Sunday.

He became the first batter to get ‘retired out’ in IPL history.

Ashwin, who has been famous for running out the non-striker for backing too far — a previous mode of dismissal called ‘Mankading’ — added the term ‘retired out’ to the cricket lexicon, using the rules that allow a batter to end his innings on his own without the intervention of the opposition bowlers.

It was a well-thought-out tactical move by Rajasthan Royals that a batter will walk off the ground in the penultimate over so that a better finisher can come in and tonk the ball a few times to boost their score.

Whether it was a plan for this match and it was agreed to was not clear but Ashwin, after pushing Avesh Khan to cover for a single, kept running after completing the run and stopped only after reaching the dressing room. The fact that Riyan Parag walked out to bat straight away means the team was expecting such a move by Ashwin.

His batting partner at that time, Shimron Hetmyer struck Khan for sixes of successive deliveries and Parag too struck a big six before getting out, going for another big one off the penultimate delivery of the match.

Hetmyer said he had no idea that Ashwin would take strategic retirement in the match. “I had no idea about this, it was a really good decision that came off well.”

Former West Indies great Ian Bishop called it a “fascinating T20 tactic”, ex-England captain Michael Vaughan loved it, and former Australia woman cricketer Lisa Sthalekar said it makes good sense to get out in such a manner.

“Ashwin retired out is fascinating T20 tactics. T20 is causing us to rethink the way we conceive the game of the 21st century,” Bishop tweeted.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted that he “loved it” while former Australian woman cricketer and commentator Lisa Sthalekar said the move “makes a lot of sense”.

“Retired OUT….it was only a matter of time we saw it in the #IPL2022 Makes a lot of sense,” said Sthalekar.

How much this move helped Rajasthan Royals is debatable as Parag could score only eight off four deliveries and Rajsthan Royals managed a modest 165/6 in 20 overs, recovering from 67/4 at one time.

It looked like the Royals could have reached the same total even if Ashwin had not pulled off this stunt as it was Hetmyer who was on strike and Hammered sixes off successive balls to boost the score.

Ashwin, who scored 28, could have done the same thing that Parag did, scoring eight off four as he had already blasted two sixes during his cameo.

The all-rounder has highlighted a new tactical move to IPL teams as they can have a batter ‘retired out’ to send someone else to give the score a quick boost.

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