Ravichandran Ashwin became the first player in the history of IPL to tactically ‘retire out’ after leaving the field unbeaten during the Rajasthan Royals v Lucknow Supergiants game in IPL 2022.
On Sunday, Ashwin found himself batting at No.6, a position he’s occupied only three times before in 64 IPL innings. With Royals being reduced to 67-4 in 9.5 overs, he combined with Shimron Hetmyer to resurrect the innings with a 68-run stand.
The two held fort till the second ball of the 19th over, when Ashwin decided to bring his innings to an abrupt halt. Having moved to 28 off 23 at that point, he walked off before the next delivery was bowled by Avesh Khan, giving Riyan Parag ten balls to finish off the innings alongside Hetmyer. There was no apparent injury concern, with a Rajasthan Royals tweet confirming that it was ‘retired out’.
Hetmyer hit two sixes off the next two balls, with Royals getting 16 runs off the penultimate over, and was helped along by new man Riyan Parag, with the two getting a further 16 runs off the final over. After the innings, Hetmyer admitted that he was caught unawares by Ashwin’s decision.
“I literally had no idea about it, to be honest,” Hetmyer said. “I just turned and saw him [Ashwin] go off. He was a tad bit tired, I would say honestly. But I think it was a good decision, and really came off for us…”
There were numerous reactions on social media after R Ashwin’s decision:
This move has been discussed so often over the last five years but it takes a brave team and a selfless player to translate theory into practice
Parag only made 8 off 4 balls – but that should be enough to vindicate the decision, with Ashwin striking at 122 in his innings
— Matt Roller (@mroller98) April 10, 2022
Props to Ravichandran Ashwin for retiring out himself in team's interest. It is something which should be normalized in limited overs cricket. I'm sure it will be done regularly in the future. Ashwin can be called the pioneer of this brave strategy. RESPECT! #IPL2022
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) April 10, 2022
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) April 10, 2022
As @ashwinravi99 becomes the first player to retire out in the IPL, I can’t help but think about the time he’s done with his playing days and is heading the ICC men’s Cricket Committee. Imagine the innovations he’ll bring into and for the game #IPL2022
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) April 10, 2022
R Ashwin becomes the first player to retire-out in IPL.
— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) April 10, 2022
Match losing innings from guys stodging up the crease are a huge tactical risk in T20 – if you can get a group of players who don't have the ego and are willing to come out when struggling/when others are better suited, you've broken down a huge tactical barrier.
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) April 10, 2022