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High scores in IPL due to batters’ skills, not impact player rule: Ravichandran Ashwin

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Ahmedabad, May 23 (PTI) Ravichandran Ashwin does not want to single out impact player rule as the only contributing factor in high scores being recorded several times this IPL, as the premier India spinner attributes it to the evolution of batters.

Ashwin also has urged bowlers to start working on their batting skills in order to meet the demands of the game.

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The season has witnessed some astonishing batting records — teams crossed the 200-run mark for a staggering 41 times whereas the 250-mark was breached on eight instances in the league round.

IPL’s record highest team total of 287 was also registered in the ongoing edition.

“Even if the impact player rule wasn’t there, scores would be this high,” Ashwin said on JioCinema Match Centre Live after their four-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bengaluru in the IPL Eliminator, here on Wednesday.

“In my opinion, batters have more confidence and pitches everywhere have been standardised.”

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“In the future, all bowlers will need to be hitters because we know that no matter how well we bowl, we also need to be able to bat. The game is headed in that direction,” he said.

While Indian captain Rohit Sharma has criticised the rule, arguing that it hampers the development of all-rounders in the country, star batter Virat Kohli has opined that it disrupts the balance of the game.

The rule was formally adopted in the 2023 edition of the IPL after a trial in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy domestic T20s.

The BCCI secretary Jay Shah recently said the impact player rule was implemented on a ‘test case’ basis and is not a permanent one. Shah has also said the board authorities will talk to the stakeholders before taking a final call on the debatable rule.

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Coming off a gruelling five-match home Test series against England where he was the leading wicket-taker in India’s 4-1 win, Ashwin said he had to overcome an abdominal injury and started bowling in his elements only in the business end of the competition.

“My tournament has gone in two halves. The first half was coming off the Test series, so my body didn’t feel fresh. My arm speed wasn’t there and I also had an injury, an abdomen tear. I played through the injury but didn’t get much bowling time or repetitions.

Ashwin was adjudged man-of-the-match for his miserly 2/19 that restricted Royal Challengers Bengaluru to 172/8.

“I am someone who depends on bowling repetitions. Over the last 6-7 games, I feel like my rhythm came back. I was able to bowl off spin. I changed my action slightly. My plan was simple. I came with a single-minded focus on changing the line and length of my deliveries and it was executed well,” added Ashwin.

Ashwin has also hailed Riyan Parag’s maturity and said the Assam batter has come a long way since making his debut as an 18-year-old in IPL 2019.

“It’s important to give batters, especially junior batters, role clarity. Riyan came into the team as a 17-year-old child and he’s matured over the years, getting role clarity for the first time this season.

“I never doubted his ability. The shot he hit over the covers tonight, not many batters can hit that. Based on his talent and how his season has gone, I think he can reach wherever he wants to,” he said.

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