In response to the recent controversial dismissal of English cricketer Jonny Bairstow during the second Ashes Test, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has praised the astuteness of Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey. Bairstow’s dismissal was contentious, igniting a debate about the ‘spirit of cricket’, due to the circumstances surrounding the wicket. After presuming the ball was dead, Bairstow left his crease to converse with non-striker Ben Stokes. Seizing the opportunity, Carey collected the ball and threw down the stumps, thereby dismissing Bairstow who was out of his crease.

Following the incident, critics and fans alike questioned the fair play of the dismissal. However, Ashwin defended Carey’s actions, suggesting that it was a clever cricketing move. He argued that a wicketkeeper would not attempt such a dismissal from a significant distance unless a pattern of the batter leaving his crease after leaving a ball had been noticed.

Ashwin used Twitter to communicate his stance, stating, “We must get one fact loud and clear. The keeper would never have a dip at the stumps from that far out in a Test match unless he or his team have noticed a pattern of the batter leaving his crease after leaving a ball like Bairstow did. We must applaud the game smarts of the individual rather than skewing it towards unfair play or spirit of the game”.

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This view was also supported by Australian skipper Pat Cummins, who concurred that Carey had noticed Bairstow’s habit of leaving the crease early, justifying that the dismissal was within the rules and was entirely fair. However, English skipper Ben Stokes held a different perspective, expressing skepticism about the incident and stating that he would not have wanted to win a game in that manner.

In conclusion, while the incident has stirred a controversy, Ashwin lauds Carey’s smartness and encourages recognition of such game tactics, rather than dismissing them as unfair or against the spirit of the game. His views provide a valuable perspective on the ‘spirit of cricket’ debate, emphasizing the importance of strategic intelligence within the sport.