Ravichandran Ashwin, in a chat with Murali Kartik, revealed that one game after the infamous Jos Buttler incident in IPL 2019, his own teammate, Ankit Rajpoot, refused to ‘mankad’ owing to the fear of being ostracized. Ashwin revealed that Rajoot feared that he’d be made a villain if he mankaded.
Ravichandran Ashwin belongs to the rare breed of cricketers who have openly vouched for mankading, and his continued public support for the unpopular form of dismissal has been happening since the infamous incident involving Jos Buttler in IPL 2019. A former skipper of Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab), Ashwin ‘mankaded’ Buttler in a league game in Jaipur in Punjab’s first game of the season, and the off-spinner’s actions turned him into an overnight villain. But unflustered by comments made by outsiders and fellow cricketers, Ashwin has continued to speak in favour of mankading, and has time and again claimed that it is 100% fair to utilize a form of dismissal that’s in the rulebook.
However, in a candid chat with another pro-Mankad cricketer, Murali Kartik, the off-spinner revealed an incident from the same season to show the world how ‘afraid’ bowlers are to mankad batters. Ashwin revealed that, in a tight game against Mumbai Indians, he’d instructed his teammate Ankit Rajpoot - who was bowling the final over - to mankad the non-striker if there was a chance. However, the bowler, Ashwin revealed, outrightly refused to follow instructions owing to the fear of being ostracized.
"After the incident happened against Rajasthan (Jos Buttler Mankading controversy), in the next match we were playing Mumbai. The last-wicket pair of Rahul Chahar and Alzarri Joseph were batting. One ball and two runs to win. I went to the bowler Ankit Rajpoot and told him, ‘these batsmen will be charging out to run. Just stop and send them back in if he (non-striker) starts running before you deliver’. He was scared and said, ‘No way, I won’t do that,” Ashwin said, reported Hindustan Times.
"He (Rajpoot) froze when he came to deliver. He came and said to me, ‘If I do this, it will create controversy and I will be made the villain. I told him, ‘what you are doing here is correct. The non-striker is at fault here."
Rajpoot’s hesitancy proved to be costly as Mumbai eventually ended up winning the game, with the No.10 batter striking two runs off the last ball. Ashwin did not blame the bowler, but pointed out how by ostracizing mankading, batters have effectively taken out a legitimate form of dismissal. The former Punjab skipper described the ostracization of the dismissal as ‘wrong’.
"The batsman are so used to meandering along. Someone asking them to stay inside the crease itself looks like a hindrance to them. This is so wrong asking a bowler not to run batsmen out at the non-striker’s end. Especially, when the game is so competitive, I firmly believe that a bowler shouldn’t be stopped,” Ashwin said.