“Ricky Ponting said that he wanted to stand up and tell me to run out Aaron Finch,” R Ashwin has revealed in his YouTube channel Ashwin. “Last night, during dinner, even Ponting said, ‘how far he (Finch) went out! I was about to stand and tell you to run him out,’” Ashwin said in a chat. He also said that going into the game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Dubai, he sensed an opportunity to run out the non-striker might arise due to the big dimensions of the ground.
On Monday, during Delhi Capitals’ game against RCB, Ashwin didn’t run out Aaron Finch, who had backed up too early at the non-striker’s end, but nonetheless issued a warning through a subsequent tweet that such instances would not be reprieved in the future.
In a light-hearted chat in Tamil, strewn with Tamil film dialogues, with South Africa’s performance analyst Prasanna Agoram, Ashwin retraced the episode.
He started with his premonition of a run-out opportunity before the start of the game. “One side of the boundary was pretty big on that ground. I knew 100 per cent that someone will back up too early today [at the non-striker’s end]. You need lots of courage to hit a six or a four on that ground.”
Ashwin also mentioned that since the Bangalore team has a lot of quick-footed players who like to run hard between wickets, he thought a chance might arise.
“Moreover, that team had lots of players who run very fast and shout out “two, two”! I thought, someone will step out today and I will have get my first catch, first scalp. I knew that, going into the match. (Iniku nammaluku boni iruku da!),” Ashwin said with a smile. “He went out,” says Ashwin referring to Finch.
The Aussie opener had stepped too far out too early and for a moment, both stood, staring at each other. Ashwin detailed out what he was thinking at that stage.
“I am telling you the truth here. As I ran in to bowl that delivery, just before I got into my delivery stride and jump, a golden helmet is rolling along, like a detached coach of a train,” he said, referencing a humorous dialogue from Tamil movie Majunu.
“I then stopped and thought, ‘should I run him out or not’? He still didn’t come back, he was looking at me. I don’t know why he was looking at me. He is a good friend since the days of Kings XI Punjab. A very good man. I have spent lots of time with him in the evenings. I thought, ‘okay let it go, let this be a final warning.’”
The off-spinner then talked about the ideal punishment, a run-penalty to batsmen who back up before the bowler releases the ball.
“As the line from Ramana (A Vijayakanth starrer) goes, the ‘punishments should be very severe’. Just announce that there will be a penalty of 10 runs if you step out of the crease too early. No one will then go out.”
Ashwin also said that there is no skill as a bowler involved in this mode of dismissal but they are left with no option if the batsmen continue to back up too early.
“There is no skill involved in running out a batsman like this. But if you keep going out, what option is left to us?”
And he then threw in another movie reference, a classic song written by Pattukottai Kalyanasundram for the MG Ramachandran-starrer Thirudathe. “Unless a thief decides to reform himself, robbery can’t be eliminated. (Thirudana paarthu thirundha vittaal, thirutai ozhika mudiyathu). I can don the role of a police for umpteen times but unless the thief decides to change …”
It was then that he brought up Ponting’s reaction at the dinner, adding, “I even asked him you are saying this about the Australian (ODI) captain and Ponting said, ‘It’s wrong whoever does it, I have been talking about this topic in the ICC meetings about issuing a run-penalty to the batsmen.’ He is working hard to get it done.”
He was then asked by Agoram if he would do it in the next game against Rajasthan Royals. “That’s in Sharjah. I don’t think anyone runs, you can just keep hitting the ball!” Ashwin said with a smile.
In a chat with Delhi Capitals fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, posted on Twitter by the franchise, Ashwin gave more details on the chat with Ponting.
“We had a very serious conversation about this. He was very clear that I must go ahead with that dismissal at the back end of the tournament. Last time, I did in the first half and it didn’t really matter. So when it comes to playoffs or back end of the tournament, the coach wants me to be aggressive and go for the wickets, which is when I will really start dislodging the bails,” he said.