NAVI MUMBAI: In IPL 2022, Rajasthan Royals have brought in a funky experiment: – promote Ravichandran Ashwin in the batting order and use him as a pinch hitter so that the line-up gets elongated.
On Wednesday, against Delhi Capitals, Ashwin was brought out at number three and despite being stuck twice in the innings, got his maiden IPL fifty in 38 balls though Rajasthan lost by eight wickets at DY Patil Stadium.
“No, there’s no license (on pinch hitter role) that has been given. Starting from the season, it was communicated properly to me that I would be used up the order. We had a few practice games as well where I opened, and I have kind of enjoyed it.”
“Have worked a lot on my batting, so it’s nice to see whatever it’s been worked on translates on the field. Pretty good feel about the knock today, nevertheless it didn’t come in a winning cause,” said Ashwin on his pinch-hitter role in post-match virtual press conference.
From 107/2 in 14 overs, Rajasthan had a meltdown in the last six overs, making just 53 runs while losing four wickets to be 160/6 at the end of their innings. With no Shimron Hetmyer to give the finishing kick, Rajasthan couldn’t get the desired end from Sanju Samson, Riyan Parag and Rassie van der Dussen.
“There were no switch offs in that phase. I think Hetmyer has gone home for the birth of his child so Rassie came in place for him. Hettie has been giving us the finishes in most of the games. A finisher is always worth the weight in gold.”
Ashwin felt Rajasthan didn’t have luck on their side during the match, right from toss to defending 160. “I thought even the toss was pretty crucial today because the wicket was a touch tacky today. Had we had some luck and taken the catches, the game would have taken a different course. But these things do happen and the back end of the tournament is always pressure. Hopefully we can turn it on and string in a couple of wins together.”
Explaining further about the tacky nature of the pitch at DY Patil Stadium and the difficulties it caused to Rajasthan, Ashwin said, “Today the pitch wasn’t quite the easiest so there was communication around that. Obviously, the communication to keep going out to play for a few more overs and set it up keeps coming in. Most often than not, if you find yourself hitting the 100-run mark by the 13th over, you end up getting to 180, that’s generally the kind of algorithm that works.”
“Today was again we hit the 100-mark on a quite tough pitch while batting first, I think just maybe 15-20 runs short at the end. But like I said you never really know unless both sides have played. We have made a good fist of these sorts of low-scoring games in the past but today, the wickets, catches; nothing really went our way in the second half. It was not our day.”