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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Emotional Rollercoaster: Ashwin’s wincing pain, Pant’s stubbornness, Jordan’s nothingness

Hot heads, calm minds and everything else between the game: Ashwin's wincing pain, Pant's stubbornness, Jordan's nothingness as Delhi beat Punjab in IPL 2020

Written by Sriram Veera | Mumbai | Updated: September 21, 2020 10:54:06 am
R Ashwin, Ashwin injured, IPL 2020, DC vs KXIPR Ashwin's immediate future with the Delhi Capitals was put in doubt after he left the field with a shoulder injury (Source: Twitter)

Ashwin’s cry of pain and ruffle of comfort

A magical over where he grabbed two wickets to spin the game his team’s way ended in pain and tears for R Ashwin. The medical prognosis is awaited but the fear is the DC bowler might have dislocated his shoulder as he fell, trying to stop the ball that was rolling away at quite a distance to his right. Almost immediately, he clutched his left shoulder and grimaced in severe pain. And by the time the physio rushed to the ground, Ashwin was in tears. Dean Jones reckoned that he might be out of action for at least a month in a worst case scenario. Not to mention it cost him three overs today.

What a contrast it was to the sheer joy he had experienced in the first five balls against his old team Kings XI Punjab. His stint as a captain last year with that team wasn’t all that pleasant and he struck with his first delivery when he foxed Karun Nair into top-edging a forceful swat. A classic Ashwin moment came up in the fifth ball. It was the ball that he releases as if he is turning the door-knob and slips it through his thumb and index finger and the ball skids on straight with the angle from round the stumps. The left-handed Nicholas Pooran has a reputation of being good against spin but was clueless here, pushing outside the line, playing for the spin, and losing his stumps.

Now, Ashwin was against his old rival Glenn Maxwell; both have been going at each other for a few years now. We will perhaps not know whether it was the scent of the battle against the old rival that propelled him to run after a ball that was at a fair distance from him or was it just the adrenalin after taking two wickets but he shuffled across and threw in a fairly innocuous dive that had no chance of stopping the ball. As he fell, something jarred in his shoulder. The experienced physio Patrick Farhat, who worked with the Indian team for years until the last world cup, had one look at the injury and immediately decided the best course of action was to get his man out of there.

There was one moment of tenderness in this pensive moment. As a teary eyed Ashwin walked off, the coach Ricky Ponting walked over to ruffle his hair. Ponting must have realised the pathos of the moment.

For months now, the cricket tragic Ashwin has been talking on the game on twitter and YouTube. He has spoken with cricketers to performance analysts about various intricate aspects of the game, and even posed a few tough questions to Ponting about his views on mankading. Just six balls into the tournament, five of which provided him unadulterated elation, his dream was threatening to turn into a nightmare.

Rishabh Pant’s Stubbornness

It’s not that Rishabh Pant doesn’t want to learn but he is a man who is confident he doesn’t need to change his game. The teenaged IPL debutant Ravi Bishnoi wouldn’t have minded Pant’s bull-headedness frankly. Bishnoi kept sliding the ball across the left-hander who kept trying to drag it to the onside. Bishnoi seemed to harness Rashid Khan in his style and Pant was just being Pant. Heave and miss. Pant would then tell his partner that it was a googly. Of course it was; not that he changed his shot as he yet again tried to slog against the spin. Not once did he try to go with the turn. Finally, a googly ricocheted off an inside edge of an attempted slog and fell on the stumps, triggering a wondrous scream of joy from the youngster for his first wicket on the big stage.

Chris Jordan’s Emptiness

How badly can a game of cricket turn out for you? Don’t tweet out that question to Chris Jordan. He was looted for 30 runs by Marcus Stoinis and co. in the final over that pushed Delhi Capitals past 150, a total that looked hardly possible at one stage. Were the cricketing gods done with him yet? Nope. The poor man had go through more trauma. He was deemed to have run short in the 19th over by the umpire, costing his team a valuable run though replays suggested his bat was inside the line. He was left to face the final ball of the chase. He needed just a run and Stoinis actually repaid his earlier largesse with a full toss on the legs but his nightmare refused to go away. He scooped it straight to square-leg, dragging the match into super over where his team tamely surrendered.

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