Ashwin gets retired out in IPL: What the law says, how ICC, experts reacted
Ashwin plays a shot against Lucknow before getting 'Retired - out'. Photo: BCCI/IPL

Ashwin gets 'retired out' in IPL: What the law says, how ICC, experts reacted

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Indian Premier League’s (IPL) first-ever “Mankading” dismissal came in 2019. And, three years later, the tournament saw another first – ‘retired out’. On both occasions, Ravichandran Ashwin was involved.

Ashwin’s “Mankading” of Jos Buttler in IPL 2019 created a huge controversy even though the off-spinner was well within the laws of the game to effect that run-out at the non-striker’s end.

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Now, on Sunday (April 10), in the ongoing IPL, Ashwin did another first. This time there is no controversy, only high praise for the all-rounder. Ashwin sacrificed his wicket to be “retired out’ against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Ashwin and Buttler are both playing in the same team now, for Rajasthan Royals (RR). During the ‘Mankading’ incident, Buttler was with Rajasthan and Ashwin was Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) captain.

Tactical move

When Ashwin decided to return to the pavilion in the 19th over, he had scored 28 off 23 balls with two sixes. He made way for Riyan Parag, who later scored eight runs off four with one six.

After the match, RR’s director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara said Ashwin had sacrificed his wicket and the team had discussed that earlier.

Ashwin is positioned near the boundary during the Rajasthan-Lucknow match in Mumbai: Photo: BCCI/IPL

“Ashwin himself was asking from the field as well, and we had discussed it just before that, as to what we would do,” Sangakkara said.

“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,” the former Sri Lankan captain added.

What is ‘retired  out’?

If a batter decides to “retire out”, he can’t return to bat. This is different from batsmen who “retire hurt” due to injury or illness. They can come back to resume their innings.

Cricket Law 25.4 deals with “Batters retiring”. It states:

25.4.1 A batter may retire at any time during his/her innings when the ball is dead. The umpires, before allowing play to proceed, shall be informed of the reason for a batter retiring.

25.4.2 If a batter retires because of illness, injury or any other unavoidable cause, that batter is entitled to resume his/her innings. If for any reason this does not happen, that batter is to be recorded as ‘Retired – not out’.

25.4.3 If a batter retires for any reason other than as in 25.4.2, 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’.

Who said what on Ashwin’s dismissal?

“It will be interesting to see how this one evolves ahead of the Men’s T20 World Cup later this year,” said International Cricket Council (ICC) on Twitter.

RR captain Sanju Samson said it was a team decision. “It’s about being Rajasthan Royals (Ashwin’s retired out). We keep trying different things. Have been talking about it before the season. We thought that if some situation occurs, we can use it. It was a team decision.”

“I had no idea about it, he was also a bit tired. It was a good decision, as the kid (Parag) hit a six for us,” said Ashwin’s teammate Shimron Hetmyer.

Former West Indies fast bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop felt “Retired – out” is a “fascinating” tactic. “Ashwin retired out is fascinating T20 tactics. T20 is causing us to rethink the way we conceive the game of in the 21st century.”

“Retire-Out. First of many. De-stigmatise it,” said former India batsman Aakash Chopra.

“Retired OUT .. love it ..,” tweeted former England captain Michael Vaughan.

Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle said, “The retired out option is a smart tactical ploy. I like it but it will be a brave call. Remember the Tewatia match when he couldn’t put bat to ball. You would have thought that was a worthy case for retired out!”

List of cricketers who ‘retired out’

The first instance of a batsman retired out in international cricket happened in 2001 in a Test match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in Colombo.

Marvan Atapattu became the first batsman in Test history to be “Retired – out”. He walked back to the dressing room after completing his double century (201). Soon, Mahela Jayawardene (150) followed suit to allow other batsmen to score runs at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground. Sangakkara too was part of that match, scoring 54.

In the T20s, the first instance was Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (Pakistanis team) against Northants in 2010.

The second was Bhutan batsman Sonam Tobgay against the Maldives in 2019. Also the same year, Cumilla Warriors’ Sunzamul Islam was “Retired – out” against Chattogram Challengers in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

What next?

We have to wait and watch to see whether more IPL teams adopt this tactical move or it will be just with Rajasthan.

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