On Sunday, Rajasthan Royals cricketer Ravi Ashwin became the first player in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be tactically retired out. Meanwhile, this decision was made during their IPL 2022 game against Lucknow Super Giants. Ashwin has promoted up the order to bat at No.6 for the Royals last night. He scored 28 off 23 before walking off the field and retiring out in the 19th over.
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However, this allowed Rajasthan to send Riyan Parag. Riyan scored 8 off 4 and supported Shimron Hetmyer at the other end, whose death-over blitzkrieg helped Rajasthan finish with 165. Explaining the decision after the match, Rajasthan Royals captain Sanju Samson revealed that it was a team decision.
Sanju Samson revealed that it has been part of their discussion even before the start of the 15th season.
“It’s about being Rajasthan Royals (Ashwin’s retired-out). We keep trying different things. Have been talking about it before the season. We thought that if some situation occurs, we can use it. Was a team decision.”Samson said in the post-match presentation
However, even Hetmyer wasn’t aware that Ashwin would walk off at that stage. He himself admitted in the mid-innings interview that he was rather shocked.
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This was, however, not the first-ever tactical retired out in T20 cricket. In 2019, during the South Asian Games, Bhutan batsman Sonam Togbay had pulled off the same at the end of the 19th over in the match against the Maldives.
Kumar Sangakkara, RR’s director of cricket, revealed that it was while the team had discussed it before it was entirely Ashwin’s plan to sacrifice his own wicket.
IPL 2022: “It was the right time to do that,” said Sangakkara of Ashwin’s decision
“It was the right time to do that,” said Sangakkara of Ashwin’s decision. “Ashwin himself was asking from the field as well and we had discussed just before that as to what we would do.”
“As the coach, I got one call wrong not sending Riyan Parag ahead of Rassie van der Dussen and holding Rassie back so we couldn’t get the full benefit of Riyan, but how Ashwin handled that situation, walking in under pressure, he batted, supported the team and then finally sacrificed himself in terms of retiring himself out and then backed it up with a magnificent bowling effort. And of course Boult. Yuzi Chahal, Prasidh Krishna, and Kuldeep Sen all of these bowlers were outstanding under pressure with the dew.” Sangakkara said after the match.
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As a result, Rajasthan Royals won the match by three runs in a nail-biting thriller at the end. Rajasthan Royals are now at the top of the points table with three wins in four games.