Can Ravichandran Ashwin ever be too far away from controversy? Be it his Mankading of Jos Buttler in the 2019 IPL or his non-selection in the Indian team for the Tests in England, the star offie has always been a subject of conversation. He has divided opinion like few other cricketers in the Indian team.
This time, it is Ashwin’s exchange of words with Kolkata Knight Riders and England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan over a run that he took after the ball ricocheted off his Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant that has sparked a debate.
VERBAL VOLLEYS: R Ashwin of Delhi Capitals and Tim Southee of KKR get involved in an angry exchange at Sharjah
Ashwin had the last laugh on the field on Tuesday when he got Morgan’s wicket, but on Thursday he chose to take it forward with a series of tweets.
While the spinner clarified that he didn’t see that the ball had ricocheted off Pant, he added that he would have gone for the run any which way because he is “allowed to”. And then he revealed that Morgan told him he was “a disgrace”.
“1. I turned to run the moment I saw the fielder throw and dint know the ball had hit Rishabh. 2. Will I run if I see it!? Of course I will and I am allowed to. 3. Am I a disgrace like Morgan said I was? Of course NOT (sic),” Ashwin tweeted. He followed that up another tweet saying, “In Morgan or Southee’s world of cricket they can choose and stick to what they believe is right or wrong but do not have the right to take a moral high ground and use words that are derogatory.”
In another tweet, he said, “All these people who are terming you good or bad have already made a living or they are doing what it takes to be successful elsewhere.”
Give your heart and soul on the field and play within the rules of the game and shake your hands once the game is o… https://t.co/yneNgF0nML
— Mask up and take your vaccine🙏🙏🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) 1632983022000
It may well have been a dig at Morgan, who attained the status of a World Cup-winning captain because of a similar ricochet off Ben Stokes in the final over of the 50-over World Cup in 2019 against New Zealand that went for a boundary.
While Virender Sehwag, in a cryptic tweet, said that Morgan didn’t exactly sit on a “dharna” after winning the World Cup, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta said that it was Morgan’s choice of words during the recent incident that was disappointing.
On July 14th , 2019 when it ricocheted of Ben Stokes bat in the final over, Mr Morgan sat on a Dharna outside Lord’… https://t.co/JKp9qx6aAC
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) 1632913778000
“There will be disagreements, but that doesn’t mean you can call a colleague a ‘disgrace’. There was no reason for the temperature to escalate the way it has over an incident like this,” Dasgupta told TOI.
WHEN THE LAWS AREN’T DEFINED… Dinesh Karthik tries to reason with R Ashwin (No. 23) of Delhi Capitals during the game against KKR
But should Ashwin have gone for that run in the first place, which is not in the spirit of the game? “Who defines the spirit of the game? If taking a run off a ricochet is illegal, why doesn’t the ICC ban it? The stakes are so high these days and lives and careers are made over a run here and there,” Dasgupta said.
Having said that, it can’t be denied that Ashwin is one player who has found himself at the centre of controversies. The legendary Shane Warne tweeted: “Why does Ashwin have to be that guy again?”
The world shouldn’t be divided on this topic and Ashwin. It’s pretty simple – it’s disgraceful & should never happe… https://t.co/0bA9GFMx2C
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) 1632897854000
Former Tamil Nadu spinner Sunil Subramaniam, who was Ashwin’s coach in his growing up years, says that it has a lot to do with the way the offie plays his cricket. “He has his own mind, he is fiercely opinionated and plays the game hard. He always has questions about everything and if he believes a rule is unfair, he will not be scared to challenge it,” Subramaniam said.
The coach, however, feels Ashwin could have avoided taking that run, but he wants to give his former ward the benefit of doubt. “If Ashwin has said he didn’t see the ricochet, it must have been the case.”
Subramaniam went on to question Warne’s jibe too, saying there’s no question of Ashwin being “that guy” who is always creating controversies. “As for the Mankading two years ago, Ashwin was absolutely justified in what he did. The batsman is taking an undue advantage by leaving the crease early and Ashwin was right in questioning it, especially in T20 games where one extra run means a lot,” Subramaniam said.
One is left to wonder if the heat generated from the Morgan incident will add to the pressure on Ashwin, who will make his India comeback in T20Is right after the IPL. Both Dasgupta and Subramaniam feel it won’t, because Ashwin is “too much of a pro to be bothered by all these”.
“He got Morgan out the other day after the incident. If at all, it will make him more determined to do better,” Subramaniam said.