All eyes will be on R Ashwin and Jos Buttler as Kings XI Punjab host Rajasthan Royals in Match 32 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 on Tuesday in Mohali. The last time these two sides met, a huge controversy erupted as Ashwin Mankaded Buttler.
Rajasthan Royals were looking set for opening their account as early as their first match of IPL 2019 as Jos Buttler was striking it cleanly in their chase of 185 at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium on Match 25. However, Ashwin removed Buttler by running him out at the non-stiker’s end by employing the controversial Mankading technique.
Buttler’s dismissal saw the start of collapse as RR lost their last eight wickets for just 56 runs.
The Mankad act of R Ashwin became a huge talking point in the first week of IPL 2019. The Kings XI Punjab captain left the cricket fraternity divided even as several English and Australian stars brought up the ‘sportsman spirit’ debate and lashed out at Ashwin.
Legendary Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, Rajasthan Royals’ ambassador, came down heavily at Ashwin, saying he was disappointed with Ashwin as a captain and as a person.
Warne ranted about the ’embarrassing and disgraceful’ act, adding that “win at all costs mentality” has to stop and that cricketers need to set examples for “young boys and girls playing cricket”.
“Last point on the embarrassing & disgraceful act of @ashwinravi99 ! This win at all costs mentality has got to stop & the integrity of the game along with the spirit of the game must be of the most importance, as we need to set examples to the young boys & girls playing cricket!” Warne wrote on social media.
How R Ashwin and Jos Buttler reacted after the Mankading incident
Nonetheless, the criticism did not affect R Ashwin one bit as the KXIP skipper defended his actions, saying Mankading a batsman is well within the rules of the game.
Speaking to AajTak, Ashwin said: “The most important thing for me is what is my conscience saying, and my conscience is clear. Those who know me well know that I will never do something illegal. You can’t say that ‘Ashwin is a villain because of this’.”
Jos Buttler, meanwhile, said he has buried the hatchet with Ashwin and insisted that he wouldn’t get Mankaded ever again in his career.
“So, I didn’t like what happened and I didn’t agree with it, but what can you do? After a day or so I was pretty relaxed about it and I’ll make sure it never happens again. It won’t happen again,” Buttler told ESPNCricinfo.
Can Buttler overcome spin threat?
So it’s certain that Buttler wouldn’t cross the line on Tuesday. However, it will be interesting to see how the big-hitting Rajasthan Royals opener will go about tackling the Kings XI Punjab spinners in Mohali. While the Englishman has been in fine form in IPL 2019, his numbers against spin will keep Ashwin interested.
Ashwin’s men will be hoping to keep distractions away and get back to winning ways at home. Kings XI Punjab had stitched a 7-match winning run at home before it came to end on Saturday against strugglers Royal Challengers Bangalore.