R Ashwin attacked sarcastically by Alastair Cook on 500-wicket day | Crickit
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R Ashwin attacked sarcastically by Alastair Cook on 500-wicket day

Feb 16, 2024 08:10 PM IST

Alastair Cook with a salty jibe on Ravichandran Ashwin's apparently 'deliberate' attempt at running on the pitch on Day 2 of the 3rd India vs England Test.

The cricketing world may be celebration the occasion that is Ravichandran Ashwin's 500th wicket but all the way back home in England, Alastair Cook dished out a sarcastic take on the India spinner. The former England captain's jibe wasn't directed at Ashwin's bowling, but his 'tactics' while batting as he ran on the pitch, resulting in a five-run penalty by the umpire. Reflecting on that incident, Cook feels that Ashwin's act was deliberate as he was trying to seek more advantage for himself while bowling.

Alastair Cook feels Ravichandran Ashwin 'deliberately' ran on the centre of the wicket.(Getty-AP)
Alastair Cook feels Ravichandran Ashwin 'deliberately' ran on the centre of the wicket.(Getty-AP)

During the 104th over of India's innings, Ashwin guided a delivery from Rehan Ahmed towards the off-side and took off, unaware of the fact that his first few steps landed dead on the centre of the pitch, after which umpire Joel Wilson immediately held him up. And since this was the second time an Indian batter was guilty of the same, India were slapped with a penalty, which by the way, weren't deducted from India's total but added to England. So if you're still wondering as to why England's innings began at 5/0, here's your answer.

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Also Read: Ravichandran Ashwin surpasses Anil Kumble to become fastest Indian to reach 500 Test wicket

Cook however feels that none of it was accidental and that it was a ploy on Ashwin's part to do his bit in the wear and tear of the surface so that when it's his turn to bowl, the spinner can take advantage of the roughs. As part of his criticism, Cook dished out a sarcastic swipe questioning Ashwin's sportsmanship spirit, something the India spinner has emerged as an ambassador of.

"Is it deliberate? Yes, it is. It's a tactical ploy that you can disturb the middle of the wicket because Ashwin as much as help [as possible] when he bowls. That was gamesmanship there, wasn't it?" Cook said while doing commentary for TNT Sports.

Also Read: Sachin Tendulkar pays 'one-in-a-million' tribute to milestone man Ravichandran Ashwin on 500th Test wicket

Ashwin, in a way, has been the flagbearer of the spirit of the game debacle. From being kind of a trendsetter in terms of running out batters at the non-striker end, to never shying away from questioning the umpire's decisions, Ashwin is a man of his own thought-process. Even on Friday, when the umpire penalised India for unfair play, Ashwin had a word with the umpire… and then some as play carried on.

Ashwin's monumental day

With the wicket of England opener Zak Crawley, whom he dismissed out LBW, Ashwin became the ninth bowler overall, but just the second Indian to 500 Test wickets after the legendary Anil Kumble. But while he was second in the list there, Ashwin was the fastest Indian to the landmark, reaching there in 98 Tests, seven quicker than Kumble's 105. The record for the fastest to reach 500 Tests wicket belongs to the one and only Muttiah Muralitharan, who needed all of 87 matches to create history.

Having said that, Ashwin's job is not done. With England firing away and Bazballing their way in reply to India's 445, Rohit Sharma will need his premier spinner to deliver the goods on a surface that promises to assist spin on Day 3.

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