India's Ravichandran Ashwin has insisted he has no regrets over his controversial 'Mankad' dismissal of England batsman Jos Buttler which sparked a worldwide debate.
"You can't say that Ashwin is a villain," the all-rounder insisted in his first interview since the storm erupted after he ran out Buttler at the non-striker's end in an Indian Premier League game last month.
The Kings XI Punjab skipper has been at the centre of a major cricket controversy for using the ploy made famous by India player Vinoo Mankad in 1947. Mankading, as it has become known, is legal but frowned upon by purists unless the batsman has been warned.
Ashwin, who seemed to have waited for Buttler to leave his crease before clipping off the bails, insisted his "conscience was clear" over the March 25 incident.
"There is nothing to defend. It was instinctive. I didn't plan to wait for Buttler to go out and I will hit (the bails). He had done that four or five times," Ashwin said. "Nobody told the batsman to stay in the crease, but it his responsibility to stay inside the crease. Most importantly, my conscience was clear."
Cricketers and pundits have criticised Ashwin. Even the MCC, the arbiter of cricket laws, released a statement saying that if Ashwin had deliberately waited for Buttler to be out of his crease that would be "unfair".