After losing their first match of the Indian Premier League 2019 season, Rajasthan Royals coach Paddy Upton said that they were leaving it for the cricket world to judge Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin’s controversial actions at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur on Monday. Meanwhile, RR skipper Ajinkya Rahane refused to comment on his national teammate, saying that the match referee will decide.
The hosts decided to ‘hold their heads up high and maintain their dignity as a team’ despite Jos Buttler becoming the first victim of ‘Mankading’ in the history of IPL. Ashwin ‘Mankaded’ Buttler in controversial circumstances in the 13th over, sparking yet another debate on a topic that has divided opinion ever since Vinoo Mankad was recorded to have done it in 1947.
Praising his side on how they reacted to the situation, Upton said, “Jos Buttler was amazing while he was batting and for a lot of the game we batted like we wanted and really set ourselves up for victory. I thought the players were able to stay focussed and reset themselves after that run out. I was very happy with the players themselves, the way they acted and responded to that situation. And our conscious decision was to hold our heads up high and maintain our dignity as a team.”
Responding on the controversial run-out, Upton said, “I think R Ashwin’s actions tonight speak for him and represent him. When I looked in the eyes of his teammates, I’m not sure it represented his teammates. We’ll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that’s the kind of thing they want to see, and we’ll leave it up to the cricket world to judge R Ashwin’s actions tonight. But for us, we certainly are here just to play cricket and entertain the fans and just be good role models for people who love the game.”
“I would still like to go and have a close look at the legality of it. But for us, the reality is Ashwin appealed and the umpire gave it out. That’s what we need to deal with. As I said, his actions represent him and speak for himself and it’s up to the fans and the cricket world to judge for themselves. And the legality is a separate issue, and probably a lot of teams are going to look more closely at that issue. I’d like to hope that the rest of the IPL continues in the spirit that we’re all here to come here and enjoy.”
Rahane refused to comment on the controversial incident at the post-match press conference, saying, “We are not supposed to comment on a controversial issue. The match referee will take the call. We will take the decision sportively.”
He, however, praised KXIP bowlers and said, “I thought we were batting really well. We started off well at the top and then got another good partnership. Later on we needed 39 off 4 overs and we thought that could have been done easily. But Kings XI bowled really well in the last three overs. When you are chasing 180 plus, someone has to go really hard,”
Winning captain Ashwin, however, called the Mankading incident instinctive, saying, “No real argument to that and it’s pretty instinctive. I actually didn’t load and he left the crease. That’s always been my take on it because it’s my half of the crease. I was not even at the crease, he wasn’t even looking at me and he just left the place.”
The incident turned out to be a game-changer as the visitors KXIP kickstarted their season by 14-runs win.