Deepti Sharma’s run out of Charlie Dean during the third ODI between England and India, at Lord’s, caused quite a stir in the cricket fraternity. R Ashwin has now weighed in with his opinions on the subject.
Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) captain Ashwin had caused a stir when he ran out Jos Buttler of Rajasthan Royals in similar fashion in the 2019 Indian Premier League. Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin spoke in detail about Sharma’s much-debated run out of Dean in India’s third ODI against England.
Admitting to having “already spoken enough on this subject,” Ashwin focused on the risk-versus-reward aspect – a phrase commonly used in economic game theory – of the non-striker’s decision to leave the crease before the ball is bowled: “Just like how a batter knows when they steps out of the crease against a spinner or a pacer that a wicketkeeper can dismiss them by stumping … A non-striker should also know that they can be dismissed run out legitimately if they keep stepping out of the crease and taking that extra yard.”
Ashwin weighed in on the morality of the mode of dismissal: “Most of them have started realising that the bowlers didn’t commit any crime here. Many of them have started asking, ‘why you are asking questions to the innocent instead of asking the person who should be guilty?’ … Only a certain section of people seems to have a problem with this. In my opinion, they always play the victim card. But whenever there is something new happening, there will be some resistance to change by a few people and that is understandable.”
He recalled his own words (“do not control the narratives”) during his post-match interview after the Ahmedabad Test of 2020/21, a match that lasted 140.2 overs and a shade over five sessions, resulting in the ground staff receiving flak: “A certains section of people consciously chooses to instill in others how they should think about a certain thing. They control their narratives.”
Ashwin hailed Sharma’s run out of Dean as “a bowler’s revolution”, and lauded Harmanpreet Kaur, who led India that day, for her unequivocal support for Sharma: “If you look around the world, captains have mostly been batters … My full support and kudos to Harmanpreet Kaur more than Deepti Sharma, because a captain backing the player at that moment is very, very important. She backed her player and asked back, ‘What’s wrong with that? The non-striker shouldn’t have left the crease, right?’
“If the captain had withdrawn the appeal at that time just because of the boo from the crowd, it would have been a stigma for Deepti Sharma, the bowler, the cricketer, and the person. She would have lived the rest of her life with that.”
In a 2012 ODI between India and Sri Lanka, Ashwin had an appeal for a non-striker run out withdrawn by Virender Sehwag, captain for the game.