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R Ashwin: 'Some umpiring decisions in this year's IPL have left me a little flummoxed'

Royals bowler wonders why the ball was replaced during CSK's innings of the "umpire's accord", and calls for decisions to be "standard" through the tournament

R Ashwin has come out strongly against what he considers to be irregular decision-making from the umpires, asking why the ball was changed during Chennai Super Kings' chase against his Rajasthan Royals side without the bowling team asking for it.
"I'm quite surprised the umpires changed the ball for dew on their own. It's never happened before and I'm quite surprised," Ashwin said at the post-match press conference. "Some of the decisions in this year's IPL on the field have left me a little flummoxed, to be honest. It left me flummoxed in a good or bad way because what you need is a little bit of balance. We're going as a bowling team and we're not asking for the ball to be changed. But the ball was changed on the umpire's accord. What reason - I did ask the umpire but he said we can change it.
"So I hope every time there's dew they can change it - every single time going forward in this IPL. You can do whatever you want but you need to be standard."
The ball was changed at the fall of Shivam Dube's wicket, with Super Kings on 92 for 3 in the 12th in a chase of 176. Ashwin had pinned Dube lbw, in a spell in which he had also accounted for a charging Ajinkya Rahane. Royals would go on to snatch victory by three runs at Chepauk, despite a late burst from MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja.
Both the laws of cricket and the IPL's playing conditions allow for the umpires to change the ball when they see fit, with Law 4.5 and playing condition 4.4 saying: "If, during play, the ball cannot be found or recovered or the umpires agree that it has become unfit for play through normal use, the umpires shall replace it with a ball which has had wear comparable with that which the previous ball had received before the need for its replacement. When the ball is replaced, the umpire shall inform the batters and the fielding captain."
But Ashwin is not the first one to question the irregularity of the umpires' decision-making this IPL. Punjab Kings' Sam Curran was seen having a discussion with the umpires during his side's five-run win over Royals in Guwahati on April 5. When asked what the discussion was about after the game, he told the broadcasters: "I found it a little bit strange how they changed their ball in the first innings when it was a little bit wet and I was trying to get our ball changed because it was like a soap. I don't really get how that works when they can change their ball and we can't, so we had to get on with it."
Umpires KN Ananthapadmanabhan and Saidharshan Kumar were in charge of that game, while Vinod Seshan and Virender Sharma stood officiating at Chepauk.

'Phenomenal from Sandeep Sharma' - R Ashwin all praise for his team-mate

At the press conference, Ashwin also lauded seamer Sandeep Sharma, who faced up to Dhoni in the final over of the chase and held his nerve to take Royals home despite the batter smacking him for consecutive sixes.
Super Kings had begun the over needing 21 and Sandeep began with two wides, before a pin-point dot-ball yorker to Dhoni. He got the next two wrong, and Dhoni duly dispatched the resulting full tosses for six, six. Those hits left Super Kings needing seven off three balls, but Sandeep finished off with a wide length ball and then two yorkers that Dhoni and Jadeja could only manage singles off.
"I really enjoy his commitment and attitude. He's someone who'll fight, doesn't get flustered," Ashwin said. "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 MS 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."