Ravichandran Ashwin has become the first player to be ‘retired out’ during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match, making way for a more attacking batter to accelerate the scoring.
And pundits predict more teams will adopt the tactic.
Promoted to number six on Sunday in the Rajasthan Royals order, 35-year-old offspinner Ashwin made 28 off 23 balls before willingly walking off in the 19th over.
Much to the bemusement of the opposing Lucknow Super Giants players, Riyan Parag came in to bat and blasted eight off four balls as Rajasthan went on to win the match by three runs.
“It was the right time to do that,” head coach Kumar Sangakkara told reporters after Rajasthan recorded their third win in four matches, putting them top of the table.
“I thought the way Ashwin handled that situation, walking in under pressure, the way he batted to support the team, and then finally sacrificed himself in terms of being retired out, was just magnificent.”
West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite is among those who think more teams may employ the tactic in Twenty20 cricket.
“I think it was gutsy from Rajasthan,” Brathwaite told espncricinfo.com.
“I think moving forward, it’s something we’ll probably see a lot more of … It’s something that will become a part of the game.”
Bhutan’s Sonam Tongbay is the only batsman to be ‘retired out’ in an international match, walking off against Maldives at the 2019 South Asian Games.