'People jumping in to gain social media followers': Gambhir, Pathan, Agarkar on Ashwin-Morgan fight, 'spirit of game'
The debate over the incident involving Delhi Capitals spinner R Ashwin and Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan continued to be one of the talking points in world cricket as former India cricketers Gautam Gambhir, Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar gave their views on the subject. The two players were involved in a heated argument during the Indian Premier League 2021 match between the two teams on Tuesday (September 28) in Sharjah.
Ashwin ran after a KKR fielder threw the ball at the stumps, but it hit Rishabh Pant and went astray. The act did not impress KKR players - with pacer Tim Southee and Morgan expressing their thoughts to Ashwin, and Ashwin responding back towards the end of the DC innings.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Gambhir said that what Ashwin did was within the rules and he backs the off-spinner completely.
"I back Ravichandran Ashwin 100 percent. What he did was well within the rules. He has done nothing wrong. And there are so many people who are jumping into it, they have got nothing to do with it. Probably to increase some social media followers or to have some presence somewhere so that people can talk about it. It makes no sense. R Ashwin is absolutely correct," Gambhir said.
Ashwin in a Twitter thread on Thursday had expressed his side of the story asking Morgan and Southee not to take the moral high grounds.
Pathan further brought up the 2019 World Cup controversy involving Ben Stokes when the ball hit the England allrounder and raced to the boundary ropes, and said that the Indian players will completely back Ashwin.
"People use the term spirit of the game for their own convenience. You remember 2019 World Cup? Let’s not get into it. If you have issues with the rule, change the rule," Pathan said.
"Even in that run-out issue, I would do it differently, but Ashwin was definitely well within the rules. Ashwin should back himself definitely and we all will back him," he added.
Agarkar said that a lot has been made of the 'spirit of game' topic in the past few years, and added that it is time to move on from the subject.
"So much has been made out it. Spirit of the game terms are conveniently used but it can’t be a grey area. You can’t have situations where one thing is not allowed and the other thing is allowed. It can’t work that way," he said.
"Either we follow what is in the laws of the game or we have set rules. He hasn’t done anything illegal. The umpires wouldn’t have allowed it in that case. To make so much fuss about it, different people talking about it from different parts of the world, I don’t get it. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, it happens and we have to move on," Agarkar signed off.