Kolkata: Indian spin great Erapalli Prasanna came to Ravichandran Ashwin's rescue, saying his act of 'Mankading' Jos Buttler in an IPL match was well within the rules of the game.
"In my opinion, he is still the best Indian spinner at the moment. Whatever he did it was well within the rules of the game," the 78-year-old veteran told PTI from Bengaluru.
"It's not a question of whether he's a best bowler or a best batsman. Jos Buttler is supposed to be a star player, but can he do this unfair running before the ball is delivered?" he asked.
"Non-striker is not expected to leave the crease and take undue advantage of making the 22 yards into 20 yards before the ball is delivered."
Kings XI Punjab captain Ashwin ran out Rajasthan Royals opener, who was at the non-striker's end, on his delivery stride in an IPL match in Jaipur on Monday. TV replays showed that the seasoned off-spinner had waited for Buttler to move out of the crease before removing the bails.
"'Mankading' is only allowed by a bowler at the time of releasing the ball. One cannot do 'Mankading' before that," said Prasanna.
Buttler was going strong at 69 off 43 balls and Rajasthan steady at 108-1 while chasing 185 but the dismissal proved to be a game-changer and Kings XI eventually won the match by 14 runs.
Ashwin's 'Mankading' was termed as "disgraceful" and "low act" by the likes of Shane Warne and Michael Vaughan.
But Prasanna played it down, saying: "So many things have happened in the past. You have seen the ball tampering and all. They don't remember all these after some time. Time is the great healer. Everyone will forget (after sometime)."
Ashwin, on his part, said that the act was purely "instinctive and not planned or anything like that".
"It's definitely fair but I do not know why he's saying he did it instinctively. Maybe he's feeling guilty and lying to cover it up," said the former India off-spinn