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Ravi Ashwin played according to rules, and that is the best spirit of the game

Remember the spirit of the game?

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Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Remember the spirit of the game? An entity which is confined to a corner, an entity which blinks along and then suddenly rushes out to make itself relevant. So when Ravi Ashwin paused, waited for Jos Buttler to drag his bat out the crease and the whipped off the bails, this spirit of the game was echoing on in full throttle.

The KXIP skipper was about to deliver the fifth ball of this last over when stopped after entering his delivery stride. Buttler was looking straight towards the batsman and sauntered out of the crease. Ashwin saw this and then broke the stumps at the non-strikers’ end with the batsman out of his crease. Of course it was referred to the third umpire and of course, Buttler was asked to leave the field of play. All within the rules, so what is the fuss, anyway?

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So before we even try to explain the fuss, how about we start with the actual rule:

‘If the non-striker is out of his ground from the moment the ball comes into play, to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him out’

Now, three balls in that very 12th over, Ashwin was in his normal bowling stride, he loaded up and Buttler dragged his bat out of the crease. There is a thing called peripheral vision, the offie would have seen the batsman take liberties, hence, he paused on the 5th ball, slowed down his pace and then took care of the stumps.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Ashwin said of the incident: “Look, it was very instinctive. On my part, it was very instinctive. It was not planned or anything like that. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don’t understand where the spirit of the game comes, naturally if it’s there in the rules it’s there.”

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Not for all, they want to harp on the spirit of the game, when the only spirit the games should be played in should be to follow the rules. They are there for a reason, in black and white, and this spirit business in the grey shade, people can read it depending upon what they want to believe in.

Shane Warne, on the Rajasthan Royals side, called it a disgrace, he slammed Ashwin, the person, the captain and said the BCCI needs to do something about this in the IPL.

“So disappointed in @ashwinravi99 as a Captain & as a person. All captains sign the #IPL wall & agree to play in the spirit of the game. RA had no intention of delivering the ball – so it should have been called a dead ball. Over to u BCCI – this a not a good look for the #IPL,” Warne wrote on Twitter.

We need to pause here, we need to take a few deep breaths and understand what this all about. Is it okay for a batsman to run 20 yards instead of the stipulated 22? Is it okay for a batsman, in a format which is already heavily loaded in their favour, to take few more favours? This is not a matter of spirit, but a matter of playing when the field is equal. Yes, what made matters worse for Rajasthan is that they lost the match, but hey, they lost 7 wickets for 24 runs towards the end, so Buttler’s dismissal cannot even be considered as the turning point.

You play the reverse hit, the switch hit, and call it innovation, well, how about stay in the crease, wait for the ball to be delivered, then go to the other end and innovate?

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