Delhi Capitals assistant coach Shane Watson opened up on R Ashwin’s decision to tactically retire himself out in the IPL, opining that that was something the Capitals would never contemplate.
In Rajasthan Royals’ game against the Lucknow Super Giants, the off-spinner tactically retired himself out to allow Riyan Parag to make the most of the final two overs. At the time, Ashwin was batting on 28 off 22 balls, with Parag going on to hit a crucial six later in the innings. Incidentally, the Royals won that game by three runs.
“He [Ashwin] just seems to be that guy who is happy to push the Mankad rule to the limit and now it’s been changed. Now he is the first one to retire. That won’t be happening here [at Delhi Capitals]. How do you learn as a batsman to work through if you have a couple of balls where you are not scoring runs? That’s part of your development as a cricketer,” Watson said.
Watson, who has been part of the RR setup previously, also shed light on how the franchise is always wanting to gain an inch over their opponents and are always trying to challenge the status quo.
“I know Rajasthan always sort of push the limits with match-ups and they are always trying to question status quo in a way. They obviously did and Ashwin was the one to put his hand up,” the former Australian cricketer added.
Interestingly enough, RR continued their tack of trying different things in their fixture against the Gujarat Titans. Chasing 193 for victory, they sent Ashwin at No.3 – just a game after he tactically retired himself out. However, he could only scratch his way to eight runs off eight balls as the Royals fell away and floundered in their run-chase.
Speaking specifically of Ashwin, he has had a habit of thinking out of the box. During IPL 2019, he famously ran Jos Buttler out at the non-striker’s end for backing up too much. In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy that year, he took off his pads as the non-striker when Tamil Nadu required three runs off the final ball. His promotion to No.3 against the Titans didn’t quite work but it might not be the last time the off-spinner tries something different to gain an edge over the opposition.