IPL 2023: Really enjoyed the composure showed by Sandeep Sharma, says Ravichandran Ashwin

Rajasthan Royals’ off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin lauded seamer Sandeep Sharma, saying he enjoyed the composure showed by him while defending 21 runs in the final over against Chennai Super Kings to seal a thrilling three-run win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Rajasthan Royals’ off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin lauded seamer Sandeep Sharma, saying he enjoyed the composure showed by him while defending 21 runs in the final over against Chennai Super Kings to seal a thrilling three-run win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

Bowling the last over with 21 runs to defend, Sandeep began the over with two wides and M.S. Dhoni hitting a brace of excellent sixes. With seven runs needed off three balls, Sandeep bowled a wide length ball and then produced two yorkers that Dhoni and Jadeja could only take singles off, giving Rajasthan a nervy victory in breaching fortress Chepauk.

It is to be noted that Sandeep, a vastly experienced fast bowler, came into the Rajasthan team as a replacement player for injured Prasidh Krishna and was not originally picked by any of the ten teams in the player auction held last year.

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“I really enjoy his commitment and attitude. He’s someone who’ll fight and doesn’t get flustered. Even when we walked up to him at three balls seven (required), he was okay. He was relaxed. He had his own plan. He wanted to deliver what he could deliver at best.”

“I feel going full to M.S. Dhoni at that stage is not the best option but any bowler would think that — you have 20 runs, you want to shut down two-three balls. Going forward it’s a lesson learnt. But I think it was phenomenal from Sandeep, I really enjoyed the composure he showed,” said Ashwin in the post-match press conference.

Playing at his home ground, Ashwin picked 2-25 with the ball, becoming a pivotal figure in applying a spin choke on Chennai in the middle overs. With the bat, he struck a 22-ball 30 in his promotion to number five in the batting order to inject some momentum in the innings as Rajasthan reached 175/8 in 20 overs.

“I am surprised that people believe that I pad up and just run in. Never works like that. I won’t discuss it with the team management. Every single match that we bat, I am padded up either as a showpiece or as a batsman.”

“I am just padded up, ready to go anytime. If you put a batter in that position and ask them to go in any order, he may not willingly do it. But for someone like me who doesn’t bat much throughout the season, I’m glad that I’m getting an opportunity to at least pad up. So, I stay padded up and ready to go,” he added.

Ashwin also conceded that he initially wanted to take the attacking route against Ravindra Jadeja, but changed to playing out his deliveries considering the help the left-arm spinner was getting from the Chepauk pitch.

“I felt like I was playing in a Test match when he was bowling. These are the things we are going to encounter with different teams on different home grounds. I just felt it was perfect for a left-arm spinner to hit that spot, add side spin, good speed.”

“Whether it’s a ploy or it turned out to be that way we don’t know. Jadeja was a bit unplayable for those 2-3 overs. The ball was spinning from outside the leg stump sometimes. So, we had to bide our time and try and pick out match-ups better,” he concluded.

Also Read: Top 10 forgotten IPL stars

-IANS

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