Generally, I’d narrate the incident and follow it up with the required perspective but in this case, I will have to make an exception. Here it goes.
Cricket is not real life, it’s a part of real life where winning has to be done. This is why it has stricter, more specific rules which need to be followed. As long as someone is within those rules, they can’t be called a cheater. And if they are not a cheater, they can’t be called a “disgrace”.
A word like that, in real life, would come from a place of subjective perception, and one could discuss the legitimacy of the claim. However, in cricket, things become much more objective, and it’s easier to decide whether or not one should use such terms because there is a rulebook they can refer to.
Now, the incident: Delhi Capitals’ R Ashwin yesterday went for a run after the ball hit his partner, Rishabh Pant during the 19th over of the side’s match against Kolkata Knight Riders. This agitated Tim Southee and Eoin Morgan, and the latter called Ashwin a “disgrace”, by the Indian’s own admission.
Ashwin-Pant overthrow controversy.. looks fair?pic.twitter.com/JQVXaFpaKk— Jeev (@CricketJeevi) September 30, 2021
In the commentary box, the overwhelming opinion was that he shouldn’t have run. On the field, there was an altercation. And on Twitter, a barrage of opinions.
.@ashwinravi99 is the role model cricket, and any professional sport, needs.— Abhishek Mukherjee (@SachinAzharCT) (@ovshake42) September 30, 2021
This is not school cricket where you let go perfectly legitimate runs just to be in the teacher’s good book. https://t.co/VqOxyBw5FA
On July 14th , 2019 when it ricocheted of Ben Stokes bat in the final over, Mr Morgan sat on a Dharna outside Lord’s and refused to hold the World cup trophy and New Zealand won. Haina ? Bade aaye, ‘doesn’t appreciate’ waale 😂 pic.twitter.com/bTZuzfIY4S— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) September 29, 2021
If you do its good. If you don't you are not a cheater either which people calls Ashwin since that Mankading incident. Following the rules of cricket should always be under the spirit of cricket. And thats what Ashwin believes in. Thats not Hypocrisy. https://t.co/fD8ocCdQcW— Kaushik (@_CricKaushik_) September 30, 2021
There is no denying the fact that Ashwin is a cheater.even he cheats while he is bowling, he deliberately stops his hand at last moment to deceive batsman.have not seen any other international bowler doing this.dont know why umpires don’t call it a no ball. Ashwin is a cheater— Rajeev Gupta (@RajeevG38395309) September 29, 2021
One such opinion came from former Australian pacer, Shane Warne, who went as far as saying, “It’s pretty simple – it’s disgraceful & should never happen”.
The world shouldn’t be divided on this topic and Ashwin. It’s pretty simple – it’s disgraceful & should never happen. Why does Ashwin have to be that guy again ? I think @Eoin16 had every right to nail him !!!! https://t.co/C2g5wYjeT6— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) September 29, 2021
As for the Australian publications, one of them termed Ashwin a “villain”, who broke the “spirit of cricket”, “AGAIN”.
They are referring to the two mankading incidents, but everyone knows that already.
Without giving too much importance to the unnecessarily outrageous headline, let’s discuss the “spirit of cricket” it mentions.
This is where cricket and real life come close. Arguably the closest. What is the “spirit of cricket”? Who defines it?
Is there a book on it? No. So we can call someone a “villain” for not observing the said “spirit”? Yes, in exceptional cases – but Ashwin going for the run was not one of them.
As the cricketer puts it himself.
1. I turned to run the moment I saw the fielder throw and dint know the ball had hit Rishabh.— Mask up and take your vaccine🙏🙏🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) September 30, 2021
2. Will I run if I see it!?
Of course I will and I am allowed to.
3. Am I a disgrace like Morgan said I was?
Of course NOT.
Give your heart and soul on the field and play within the rules of the game and shake your hands once the game is over.— Mask up and take your vaccine🙏🙏🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) September 30, 2021
The above is the only ‘spirit of the game’ I understand.
You can read the entire thread, here.
After this, Ashwin took to other social media platforms to let his displeasure be known.
Ashwin woke up and chose violence on all social media platforms. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rOb4QNz7f1— Manya (@CSKian716) September 30, 2021
As I write this, the opinions continue to pour and we can safely say that is not going to change any time soon. All we hope is that people introspect before they talk.
So, to conclude, while one can have opinions on whether he should have run or not, to call him names is not just disrespectful but also probably dangerous. We are all for morals, but their policing? That’d be a no.