Ravichandran Ashwin opened up about Rajasthan Royals’ decision to retire him against the Lucknow Super Giants at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on Sunday. The off-spinner echoed what his coach Kumar Sangakarra and skipper Sanju Samson said – descrbing it as a ‘team call’. 

Ashwin was batting on 28 runs off 23 balls in the 19th over of the first innings when RR called him back to the dug out. He was declared retired out. The 35-year-old had smashed two sixes by then. 

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Ravi Ashwin was replaced by Riyan Parag, who gave Rajasthan the late impetus they needed to post a target of 166 runs. The 2008 champions restricted KL Rahul and co to 162 and won the game by three runs. 

As per MCC, a retired batter can only walk out to bat again if a next-to-come player is either ill or injured. However, the opposition should not object. 

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“If a batter retires for any reason other than (injury or illness)… the innings of that batter may be resumed only with the consent of the opposing captain. If for any reason his/her innings is not resumed, that batter is to be recorded as ‘Retired – out’,” the law states. 

RR’s call to retire out Ashwin was seen as a masterstroke by many cricketing experts. The team’s coach, however, praised Ashwin for handling the situation well. 

“Ashwin himself was asking from the field as well, and we had discussed it just before that, as to what we would do. I thought the way Ashwin handled that situation, walking in (in the 10th over) under pressure, the way he batted to support the team. And then finally, (he) sacrificed himself in terms of being retired out, (which) was just magnificent. And then he went out in the field and backed it up with an excellent, excellent bowling effort,” Sangakarra said. 

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Ashwin explained the decision with a football analogy. He said that the call was an  in the moment thing

“It’s a team game that we often forget in the euphoria. But then it’s an important aspect of the game we haven’t considered. T20 is more a team game than we all know. It is almost as much as football. The goal scorers are like your opening batter or wicket-takers. But they are worth it only if your goalkeeper or defenders are ready to do what it takes,” the off-spinner said.