This entire post is a bit dated since this is about the famous second run of Ravichandran Ashwin at the third test at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai (in the just concluded series between West Indies and India). Technically, it is just concluded since the next series is yet to begin officially .
I have to say I was left baffled while I was watching the match.
Surely, they must have spent some time discussing and planning the entire strategy out. Granted, defending the fifth ball was a clever defensive move that ensured India would not lose the match. We are now at the last ball of the test match and two runs are required to win the match and there is no risk of India losing the test match. So what does logic demand? That you hit the ball and take-off like a hare and attempt to take two runs!
No, not according to Ashwin! I think I have figured out the reason!
If Ashwin had remained not out at the end of the test, his average would have been above 60 and he would have been the best batsman in the Indian team based on test averages. That is an honor too big to pass on! Even Usain Bolt could not have completed the second run, supporters of Ashwin’s strategy say. Before I proceed, let me clarify - I am a huge fan of Ashwin and he has shown remarkable spunk and calm in pressure situations while bowling and even batting to get his first test century and is not one who is worried about his averages.
However, this is a larger philosophical remark about fighting to the end. If Ashwin had taken off for the first run with the intention of running the second any number of things could have happened.
First, the fielder could have fumbled with the ball and not collected it cleanly. Second, the throw could have been wild. Third, the batsman could have come between the ball and the wicketkeeper (if the throw was to the wicket keepers end). Finally, the collection and the breaking of the stumps need not have been clean. That could have made the difference between a Test win and a draw!!
Surely, someone should tell Ashwin that it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Well here is a humorous take on this incident by the folks at CricInfo.