With two required off the last ball, in a high-pressure match against Pakistan, in their opener for the T20 World Cup and the finisher gone in the previous ball, Ashwin had more pressure on his shoulders when he walked out than on any other batter. Yet what the veteran pulled off in the very first delivery he faced was an epitome of how to remain calm under pressure. Ashwin knew that Mohammad Nawaz would once again go down the leg and so he moved inside the line to allow the ball to go across the stumps as umpire called it a wide ball. Ashwin went on to hit the winning run for India on the next ball. However, when he recalled that delivery from Nawaz, he made an epic retirement statement.
Nawaz had gone leg side against Dinesh Karthik on the previous ball. The batter failed to pull off the sweep shot as the ball hit the bat, rolled behind and Mohammad Rizwan was quick enough to inflict the run out. Nawaz stuck to his plan against Ashwin as well, but the veteran cricketer knew it and was clever enough to shift back in line. Umpire called it a wide and the equation for India was down to 1 off 1.
Speaking to BCCI.tv, Ashwin revealed that had that ball turned in, he would straight away headed to the dressing room, picked up his phone and written a retirement statement on Twitter.
“Somebody asked me if that Nawaz ball had turned and hit you on the pads, what would you have done?. I said I would’ve quickly rushed to the dressing room picked up my Twitter and said ‘Thank you for all the great times I have had in my cricketing career. It was a wonderful journey,” he laughed.
Virat Kohli too had lauded Ashwin’s act on that delivery after India had won the match.
“When you need a run rate of 15 or 16 and you get two runs in two balls, then people might relax a bit, might get over excited as well thinking that the rest is done. Then Dinesh Karthik got out. Then I told Ash to hit the ball over covers. But Ash, usne dimaag ke upar extra dimaag lagaya. That was a brave thing for him to do. Came inside the line, made that into a wide ball. The situation next was if he could get the ball through the gaps, we would definitely win the match,” he told Star Sports after the four-wicket win.
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