New Delhi, Jan 19: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has weighed in on the Mohammed Nabi extra run controversy during the third T20I between India and Afghanistan.
As the final ball of the first super over played out, Nabi, attempting a single, found himself amid a contentious situation. Sanju Samson's throw from behind the stumps struck Nabi's leg, deflecting towards long-on and enabling the batsmen to snatch two additional runs.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma, visibly perturbed, confronted Nabi, arguing that the extra runs went against the essence of the game. However, the on-field umpires deemed the runs legitimate, setting off a storm of opinions on sportsmanship.
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra and the head coach of the Indian team, Rahul Dravid, defended Nabi's decision, asserting that any player would have seized the opportunity in a high-stakes scenario. However, Indian off-spinner R Ashwin took a different stance, dismissing the talk about the 'spirit of cricket.'
Ashwin emphasized a batter's right to take a run when a fielder attempts to get them run out, and the ball deflects off their body. “When a fielder throws to get me run out and the ball deflects off my body, I am within my right to run. Spirit of cricket, yet again, sorry,” said Ashwin on his YouTube channel.
Acknowledging the disappointment within the Indian camp, Ashwin added that irritations naturally arise when a team feels affected on the field. He highlighted the subjective nature of such situations.
“Virat Kohli stopped the ball with his leg and wondered what was happening. There are two sides to this story. If we are the affected party on the field, we’ll get irritated with whatever happens. ‘We might not have done this if we were on the field’ - that is our personal opinion and view,” Ashwin added.
Ashwin also heaped praise on Rinku Singh, acknowledging the youngster's composure under pressure. "He is somebody I'd call a left-handed Dhoni. I can't compare him to Dhoni just yet because Dhoni is too big. But, I am talking about the composure that he brings," said the off-spinner.
The story of Rinku's journey from the Kolkata Knight Riders' bench to the national team is one of dedication and perseverance. Ashwin shared an anecdote about Rinku's time with KKR, revealing how the young batter collected balls during practice, showcasing his commitment and hunger for improvement.
"Since then, he has been with the franchise for so long, put in the hard work for UP and showed that he's always available to get the Indian team out of a tricky situation or finish an innings. The composure doesn't change whether the team is batting first or chasing. His composure towards the back end of the innings is a bonus," added Ashwin.
Rinku, a product of his stellar performance in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, had been drafted into the T20I squad. His immediate impact in the finisher's role was nothing short of spectacular. Scoring an unbeaten 69* off 39 balls, he orchestrated a remarkable partnership of 190 runs for the fifth wicket with skipper Rohit Sharma. The left-hander's resilience and ability to navigate pressure situations were the defining traits of his innings.
Rinku Singh's T20I journey, which began against Ireland in August 2023, has been nothing short of remarkable. With 356 runs at an average of 89 and a strike rate of 176.23 in 11 T20Is, he has not only secured his place in the national squad but has also become a beacon of hope in challenging situations. (IANS)