New Delhi, April 5: Ravichandran Ashwin says his "conscience is clear" and he cannot be branded a villain for 'Mankading' Jos Buttler.
Ashwin sparked outrage in the cricket fraternity when he whipped off the bails without warning Buttler during an Indian Premier League encounter between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab last month.
Kings XI captain Ashwin defended his actions after his side went on to claim a controversial win and the India spinner maintains he has done nothing wrong.
"There is nothing to defend," Ashwin told Aaj Tak TV. "As I said in the press conference that day, it happened instinctively, it was not a plan that 'Buttler will go outside [the crease] and I have to get him'. Although he did do it four or five times.
"They didn't want to take risks against my bowling that day, so what they were doing was pushing the ball on the legside and trying to take twos.
"I saw that he'd done it four or five times, and it's there in the rules that if the batsman goes out of his crease, you can run him out. It's the batsman's responsibility to stay behind the crease.
"The most important thing for me is what is my conscience saying, and my conscience is clear. Those who know me well know that I will never do something illegal. You can't say that 'Ashwin is a villain because of this'. Because this is not my character trait.
"You don't tell someone who has hit a bowler for 30 runs in an over that he is not a good person. He will hit the bowler, that's part of the game. And whatever rule is there in the game, I took advantage of that. I'm not denying I did that, but that's the rule.
"If someone doesn't like it, and you think it doesn't fit into sportsmanship in cricket, then you should remove the rule."