No Way, I Won’t Do That: When Ankit Rajpoot Disobeyed Skipper Ravi Ashwin

It was 2019 and Mumbai Indians were chasing  a mammoth target of 198 set by Kings XI Punjab. Ravi Ashwin (then KXIP skipper) had a suggestion for Ankit Rajpoot who was bowling the final over. The last pair of Mumbai was at the crease and Ashwin knew they would charge for a single, so he told Rajpoot to stop bowling and threaten them with mankad–an act which brought a lot of controversy to Ashwin earlier in the same tournament. Rajpoot outright refused and said ‘I don’t want be made villain.’

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This interesting anecdote was revealed by Ashwin himself as he spoke to Murali Karthik on his Youtube show ‘DRS with Ash.’ Ashwin had mankaded Jos Buttler earlier in the tournament and what followed shook Kings XI players. Rajpoot too was affected and he told Ashwin that he is not going to mankade Mumbai batter at any cost. Mumbai eventually won the game.

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“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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