Amidst the high-stakes third T20I between India and Afghanistan, a controversial situation unfolded during the final ball of the first super over. Mohammed Nabi, attempting a single, found himself amidst a contentious situation when Sanju Samson’s throw from behind the stumps struck Nabi’s leg, deflecting towards long-on and enabling the batsmen to snatch two additional runs.
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The Controversy Unfolds
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma confronted Nabi, visibly perturbed, arguing that the extra runs went against the essence of the game. However, the on-field umpires deemed the runs legitimate, sparking a storm of opinions on the topic of sportsmanship.
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra and the head coach of the Indian team, Rahul Dravid, defended Nabi’s decision, asserting that any player would have seized the opportunity in a high-stakes scenario. However, Indian off-spinner R Ashwin took a different stance, dismissing the talk about the ‘spirit of cricket.’ Ashwin emphasized a batter’s right to take a run when a fielder attempts to get them run out, and the ball deflects off their body. “When a fielder throws to get me run out and the ball deflects off my body, I am within my right to run. Spirit of cricket, yet again, sorry,” said Ashwin on his YouTube channel.
Acknowledging the disappointment within the Indian camp, Ashwin added that irritations naturally arise when a team feels affected on the field. He highlighted the subjective nature of such situations and mentioned that there are always two sides to the story. “We might not have done this if we were on the field’ – that is our personal opinion and view,” Ashwin added.
Praise for Rinku Singh
Ashwin also heaped praise on Rinku Singh, acknowledging the youngster’s composure under pressure. “He is somebody I’d call a left-handed Dhoni. I can’t compare him to Dhoni just yet because Dhoni is too big. But, I am talking about the composure that he brings,” said the off-spinner.
Rinku Singh’s Journey
Rinku Singh’s journey from the Kolkata Knight Riders’ bench to the national team is one of dedication and perseverance. Ashwin shared an anecdote about Rinku’s time with KKR, revealing how the young batter collected balls during practice, showcasing his commitment and hunger for improvement. “Since then, he has been with the franchise for so long, put in the hard work for UP and showed that he’s always available to get the Indian team out of a tricky situation or finish an innings. The composure doesn’t change whether the team is batting first or chasing. His composure towards the back end of the innings is a bonus,” added Ashwin.
Impact in T20I
Rinku, a product of his stellar performance in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season, had been drafted into the T20I squad. His immediate impact in the finisher’s role was nothing short of spectacular. Scoring an unbeaten 69* off 39 balls, he orchestrated a remarkable partnership of 190 runs for the fifth wicket with skipper Rohit Sharma. The left-hander’s resilience and ability to navigate pressure situations were the defining traits of his innings.
Rinku Singh’s T20I journey, which began against Ireland in August 2023, has been nothing short of remarkable. With 356 runs at an average of 89 and a strike rate of 176.23 in 11 T20Is, he has not only secured his place in the national squad but has also become a beacon of hope in challenging situations.