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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

‘You could have taken a chance’: Ashwin recalls MS Dhoni’s feedback after 2011 ‘tied’ Test

With two needed off the final delivery in the 2011 Test between India and West Indies, Ashwin was run out, leaving the scores tied. Following the match, Ashwin had defended his approach on Twitter.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: July 23, 2020 5:37:52 pm
Dhoni MS Dhoni and R Ashwin (File Photo/BCCI)

Ravichandran Ashwin, recalling the frantic last over of the 2011 Mumbai Test vs West Indies, when he was run out off the last ball, leading to only the second instance of a Test match ending as a draw with scores level, said skipper MS Dhoni had come up to him after the match and told him he should have taken a risk earlier.

“After the game, MS Dhoni came to me and said, ‘You could have taken a chance off the previous ball. Probably taken a single, and let Varun Aaron slog one off the last ball’. So yeah, that’s hindsight,” Ashwin said on a YouTube interaction with Mazher Arshad.

India and West Indies had played out a nail-biting thriller on the final day of the 2011 series. Ashwin, having made his Test debut in that series, put on a 35-run stand with Virat Kohli, whose dismissal for 63 set up a nervy finale. India needed three runs off the final over, with two wickets remaining.

“I was left with Varun Aaron at the other end, and I think it might have been two balls, two runs to get… we had two wickets in hand. I didn’t want to risk going for a big shot, and then, the next batsman coming in and getting out – we could lose the Test match, from being in a position of strength, it was not even 50-50. So I blocked that ball from Fidel Edwards, because it was swinging nicely and the chances of a No.11 getting out was pretty high,” Ashwin said.

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With two needed off the final delivery, Ashwin was run out, having hesitated to run for two, leaving the scores tied at the end of the match. Following the match, Ashwin had responded on Twitter to claims that he should have planned the last over better. Pragyan Ojha, the No.11, was not required to come out to bat.

“I still believe it was the right decision to make,” he said. “When I hit the ball to long on, it really went quick and straight to the fielder, so the chance to run for two was not there.”

Ashwin had been the Player of the Match in the Test, despite failing to take his team over the finish line. He was also named the Player of the Series, having made an instant impact in international red-ball cricket.

This match was only the second instance of a Test being drawn with scores level — the other being a Test between Zimbabwe and England in 1996.

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