Quick Take:- Why Retried out should be used more often?

So, a really interesting thing happened in the game that happened between Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants, Match 20 of the Indian Premier League Season 15. In the 19th over, Ravichandran Ashwin took guard & faced the second ball of the over from Avesh Khan and stroked it for a one. Nothing eventful as of now but what followed was something we had never seen before in an IPL Game and only fourth occasion of such an instance in T20 cricket. To the surprise of everyone involved, after that ball, Ashwin just rushed off the ground and Riyan Parag walked in. Within a few minutes, we were informed that he had retired out, the first such instance in IPL.

Over many years, many analysts and cricketers have discussed this concept but it's been hardly implemented. In simple terms, Suppose a batter is struggling out in the middle & the team has a good amount of resources left in the dugout, the batter just retires themselves and allows the team to send in a new batter. On paper, This looks like a really good plan. But why haven't we seen more of it? Plenty of reasons behind it but none more than the stigma surrounding it, especially considering the spirit of cricket discussion. 

So, Let's get the Laws discussion out of the way first. According to MCC Law 25.4.3, "If a batter retires for any reason other than (injury or illness), the innings of that batter may be resumed only with the consent of the opposing captain. If for any reason his/her innings is not resumed, that batter is to be recorded as 'Retired out'.". So, It's well within the laws of the game. In general, the overall reaction regarding that event was more on the positive side than negative but let's address what problems some people raised.

I think the biggest issue that people opposing it raise is about the concept of the game & about fighting till the end. People find this sort of an easy way out. According to them, Sport traditionally is about facing adversities and coming out on top. So, this hack seems to them as something that goes against the spirit of the sport in general. But the counter to that would be that in the end, sport is also about winning and this hack gives a team a chance to use their resources in a better way and of course, anything which is in the laws of the game cannot be against the spirit of the game.  

Another counter that people throw is the innings that Rahul Tewatia played against Kings XI Punjab (Now, Punjab Kings) in IPL 2020. For the uninitiated, Tewatia, who was sent in as a pinch hitter, was having a huge struggle out in the middle. His struggles had almost pushed RR out of the contest. But he turned it around. He smashed Sheldon Cottrell for 5 sixes in an over & in the end, managed to take RR over the line. It was an incredible effort to turn it around. 

 Now, many ask that if he was taken out, we might have not seen such an innings. While that's true, that can't take away from the fact that it was a rare event. For every Tewatia, There would be hundreds of examples of where it didn't work out in the end. In terms of examples, one can offer to you the innings that Ajinkya Rahane played in the Semifinals of the 2016 T20 World Cup or the knock that Yuvraj Singh played in the Finals of the 2014 T20 World Cup. In fact, one would say that if that situation that happened in that RR vs KXIP match is replayed, Retiring out would have been the better option and would have given RR more of a chance of pulling off the chase. 

Retiring Out has been there and around the game for years but teams have been reluctant to use it. While I don't think we would get a plethora of such calls immediately, one would hope that this call makes way for more and more teams to not only think about this but also, try & implement this strategy in the game. That would be a step to take the game tactically forward. 

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Kartik O

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Kartik O

A Cricket fan who has some opinions. Can be found at @Kocricket528 on Twitter !!!