What MS Dhoni told R Ashwin after off-spinner couldn’t get India over the line in 2011 Test against West Indies
Ashwin, who made his Test debut earlier in the series, scored a century and a fifty. With two wickets left, Ashwin and Varun Aaron completed a single but the off-spinner was run out trying to steal the winning run for India.Updated: Jul 22, 2020 07:22 IST
R Ashwin was involved in one of the most dramatic Test matches for India – the famous draw against West Indies during the 2011 home series. The match ended with the scores level for only the second time in history when Ashwin could not score the two runs needed to win off the final ball. Needing 243 to win, Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli scored half-centuries, but a match that looked like ending in a boring draw came to life when West Indies dismissed India’s middle order without taking much damage.
Ashwin, who made his Test debut earlier in the series, scored a century and a fifty. With two wickets left, Ashwin and Varun Aaron completed a single but the off-spinner was run out trying to steal the winning run for India. “In the final innings, we looked good to chase, but all of a sudden, we had a collapse,” Ashwin told Mazher Arshad on YouTube.
“I found myself batting with the tail. It was very interesting, because I had a hundred in the first innings. Second innings, I was again batting well. I was 20-odd. I was left with I think Varun Aaron at the other end, and I think it might have been two balls, two runs to get... we had two wickets in hand.”Ashwin ended up being named the Player of the Match and Series but could not be the man of the moment for India. Ashwin hesitated before going for the second run and it was enough for Denesh Ramdin and wicketkeeper Charlton Baugh to orchestrate the run-out that avoided a 0-3 whitewash for West Indies. The ending caused a furore with Ashwin taking to Twitter to offer a response.
“I didn’t want to risk going for a big shot, and then, the next batsman coming in and getting out – we could lose the Test match, from being in a position of strength, it was not even 50-50,” he said.
“So I blocked that ball from Fidel Edwards, because it was swinging nicely and the chances of a No.11 getting out was pretty high. It was the calculation I’d put in my head; it was all coming from how much first-class cricket I had played, and whatever I believed was the right decision to make.”
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It may have been the best decision Ashwin could make at that moment, however, the off-spinner revealed that after the match, captain MS Dhoni came up to him suggesting what he could have done differently.
“I still believe it was the right decision to make. When I hit the ball to long on, it really went quick and straight to the fielder, so the chance to run for two was not there. It was quite an interesting game,” he said.
“After the game, MS Dhoni came to me and said, ‘You could have taken a chance in the previous ball. Probably taken a single, and let Varun Aaron slog one off the last ball’. So yeah, that’s hindsight.”