IPL 2021: Ashwin's on-field altercation with Morgan brings back 'Spirit of Game' debate

By PTI

DUBAI: Senior Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has sought to end the controversy surrounding his on-field showdown with England skipper Eoin Morgan over an extra run during an IPL match, saying it was not a personal battle but a difference of opinion on how the game should be played.

During last week’s IPL match between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders, which is captained by Morgan, Ashwin tried to take a run after a throw ricocheted off his batting partner Rishabh Pant’s body.

Morgan and Ashwin then had an altercation with the England white-ball skipper calling the Indian a “disgrace” and accusing him of not adhering to the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ despite the fact that MCC rules allow scoring of runs after rebound from a batsman’s body.

England had benefitted from such a rebound not so long ago when they were awarded four runs after a throw from the deep struck Ben Stokes’ bat during the 2019 World Cup final, and the umpire signalled overthrows, leading to their title triumph.

“Look, I think it’s definitely not a personal battle or one on one battle and I wouldn’t deem it like that at all. People who want attention may be taking it that way, but I am not looking at it that way at all,” Ashwin said after last night’s game against Chennai Super Kings.

“…I was not the one who was aware that it had hit Rishabh (Pant). So I just felt like they had already decided they were going to have a go, and that is one of the reasons why I said the words that were used were not in the right direction and not in the right space,” he explained.

He was referring to his Twitter posts after that game in which he asked Morgan and Tim Southee to not use “derogatory” words and lecture him on ‘Spirit of Cricket’ by taking a moral high ground. After Ashwin’s dismissal in that match, fast bowler Southee had apparently rebuked the senior India star by saying, “That’s what happens when you cheat”.

Ashwin was then seen charging towards Morgan and Southee, prompting Dinesh Karthik to intervene and douse the fire. “I think we need to understand that culturally everybody is different right, the way people are taught to play cricket in England and in India, the way one thinks is completely different,” Ashwin said.

“I wouldn’t say that there is anybody that is wrong here. It is just that the way the game was played in 1940s, cannot be the same way that you want somebody else to apply it (now),” he said.