First and final warning for 2020, making it official: R Ashwin after refraining from Mankading Aaron Finch

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R Ashwin refrains from Mankading Aaron Finch

Ravichandran Ashwin, who is strongly against batsmen stealing an extra yard and doesn’t mind running out non-strikers in such scenarios, on Sunday avoided what could have been a heated dressing room conversation with head coach Ricky Ponting, after he only left Aaron Finch with Mankad warning during the IPL 2020 game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Stadium when the Aussie was caught metres outside the non-striker’s crease. 

Ashwin, as captain of the Kings XI Punjab last season, had Mankaded Jos Buttler, a dismissal which had left the entire cricket fraternity divided over “spirit of cricket” notion. Even while the dismissal stands well within the laws of the game, Ashwin failed to find support from a lot of veteran cricketers including Ponting, who heading into the IPL 2020 season admitted that he would have a “hard conversation” over the issue and avoid such dismissals under his mentorship. 

Finch was on 12 on Sunday when he walked out inadvertently outside the non-striker’s crease in a bid to start off early in taking a single. Ashwin, who was bowling to Devdutt Padikkal then, stopped whislt his bowling action and only left Finch with a glare. Umpire Nitin Menon warned Finch of his action. Meanwhile, the camera immediately panned to the Capitals dugout where Ponting was spotted smiling after Ashwin’s warning. 

Ponting might be delighted, but Ashwin later tweeted to clarify that this was his final warning to batters this season and that he would not refrain from Mankading them if caught outside the non-striker’s crease the next time. He even tagged Finch and Ponting in the tweet. 

“Let’s make it clear !! First and final warning for 2020. I am making it official and don’t blame me later on. @RickyPonting #runout #nonstriker  @AaronFinch5 and I are good buddies btw. #IPL2020”

Before the season had kicked off, Ponting, in a podcast show, the Grade Cricketer, had said, “Look, he’s a terrific bowler, and he’s done a great job in IPL for a long period of time now, but I must admit watching that last season [Ashwin running out Buttler], as soon as it happened and he did that, I actually sat our boys down and said ‘look, I know he’s done it, there’ll be others around the tournament who’ll think about doing this well, but that’s not going to be the way that we play our cricket, we won’t be doing that’.

“So that’s going to be a conversation and that’s going to be a hard conversation I will have to have with him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll take it on the chin. I think, even him, looking back now, he will probably say it was within the rules and he’s right to do it, but this is not within the spirit of the game, not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi Capitals anyway.”

Explaining his action as “instinctive” after dismissing Buttler last season, Ashwin clarified that he was well within the laws of the game. However, MCC opined that it was against the spirit of the game. And Ponting is one of the members if MCC’s World Cricket Committee. 

“There’s ways that you can actually stop batsmen cheating like that,” Ponting said on the podcast. “If the bowler was to stop and the batsman was a foot out of his crease for instance, you just penalise him some runs or something. Do that and then they won’t do it again. You’ve only got to do that once at the start of a tournament and then all the players see it, and I guarantee that players won’t be fudging any ground from there on.”

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