Why did Ashwin bat at No. 3 against Gujarat Titans?

Ravichandran Ashwin came in to bat at number three for Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Gujarat Titans on Thursday.

Ravichandran Ashwin was promoted to number three against Gujarat Titans on Thursday.   -  SPORTZPICS

Ravichandran Ashwin came in to bat at number three for Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Gujarat Titans on Thursday, but had to walk back to the pavilion soon after for a run-a-ball eight as David Miller grabbed a stunner at short cover off Lockie Ferguson in the sixth over.

The right-hander came to the crease after opener Devdutt Padikkal fell for a golden duck, edging to first slip off debutant pacer Yash Dayal. While Ashwin's move up the order raised eyebrows, the punt didn't pay off as the 35-year-old failed to deliver on the task of a pinch-hitter, a role he was probably assigned when sent in at number three. His six down the ground off Rashid Khan in the fifth was the solitary flourish in Ashwin's innings before his dismissal in the following over.

The only other time Ashwin came in at one-drop in the IPL was in the 2018 season for Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) against Rajasthan Royals and was dismissed for a two-ball duck. Royals went on to win that game by 15 runs.

In Rajasthan's previous outing against Lucknow Super Giants, Ashwin had grabbed headlines when he became the first batter in IPL history to be tactically retired out. Promoted to number six, Ashwin was on 28 off 23 when he walked off, allowing Riyan Parag to join Shimron Hetmyer in the middle. Parag ended up scoring eight off four balls. Hetmyer struck 59 off 36 as RR finished on 165 for six.

"I literally have no idea about that retire-out decision from Ashwin! It was a good decision in the end," Hetmyer told Star Sports during the innings break.

Only four batters, including Ashwin, have been dismissed retired out in T20s. Shahid Afridi for the Pakistanis, Sonam Tobgay of Bhutan and Sunzamul Islam of Cumilla Warriors round up the list.

According to MCC Law 25.4.3, "if a batter retires for any reason other than as in 25.4.2 (retires because of illness, injury or any other unavoidable cause), 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’."

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