IPL and controversy seem to go hand in hand. Every year something or the other happens that for a brief while takes the attention away from the game itself. The 12th edition of the IPL which started a few days back has also not been an exception to the rule. The ‘Mankading’ of Rajasthan Royal’s Jos Buttler by Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Aswhin has started a huge debate as to whether the latter upheld the ‘spirit of the game’.
Debates will continue as to whether Ashwin has done the right thing. The International Cricket Council (ICC), however, has already stated that Ashwin’s run out of Buttler is perfectly legal according to the ICC rule book. Ashwin, himself has said time and again that he has no regrets in dismissing Buttler as the batsman was trying to gain an unfair advantage by staying out of the crease. But even then comments continue to fly thick and fast.
The ‘spirit of the game’ says that a bowler should warn a batsman if he steps out of the crease at the non-striker’s end before the ball has been delivered. If that does not the help, the bowler has the right to run out the batsman. Rule 41.16 of the MCC, however, categorically states that the bowler doesn’t need to warn the batsman… he can straightaway run him out. But then the aficionados of the game have put Ashwin on the dock irrespective of what the rule has say.
Ashwin’s most vocal critic has been the legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne. He probably has forgotten that during his playing days, he frequently destroyed the ‘spirit of the game’ by sledging and abusing opposition batters.
But more of that later. First let us find out what ‘Mankading’ is all about or where did it derive its name from.
Many say that this form of dismissal derived its name after the legendary Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad ran out Bill Brown at the Sydney Test, during India’s tour of Australia in 1947. The incident occurred December 13 and even though Mankad was heavily criticised by a large number of people, his actions were defended by none other than the iconic Australian skipper Sir Donald Bradman.
“I don’t know why there is such a hue and cry,” Bradman had written in his column. “The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the non-striker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered,” Bradman had said.
Incidentally that however, was not the first instance when Mankad had adopted such a method to dismiss a batsman. It was the second time, he had done so. The first was during India’s warm-up game against Australian club side Queensland a few days ago before the Sydney Test. However, then the mode of dismissal was not given as it was during a club game and not Test. However, because Mankad dismissed Brown during a ‘Test’ the infamous tag of ‘Mankading’, something which the great Vinoo did not like at all, has come to stay permanently.
International cricketers as well as former Indian players have both opined for and against Ashwin. The crux of the matter however, is where does the ‘spirit of the game’ go when a batsman tries to steal and extra yard by stepping out of the popping crease at the non-striker’s end even before the ball has been delivered.
Even the Indians have been divided on their opinions. While Gundappa Viswanath has said that there is nothing wrong with what Ashwin has done, another former skipper Krishnamachari Srikkanth comment has been ‘I cannot think Ashwin could ever stoop to such a level’.
Bottomline, however, is that Ashwin has not taken any unfair means to dismiss Buttler. So he should be at peace with himself. The world always remembers a winner… not a loser who showed sportsman’s spirit.
Eight instances of ‘Mankading’ in international cricket
Year Venue Batsman Bowler
1947 Sydney Bill Brown Vinoo mankad
1969 Adelaide Ian Redpath Charlie Griffith
1975 Melbourne Brian Luckhurst Greg Chappell
1978 Christchurch Derek Randall Ewan Chatfield
1979 Perth Sikandar Bakht Alan Hurst
1992 Harare Grant Flower Dipak Patel
1992 Port Elizabeth Peter Kirsten Kapil Dev
2014 Birmingham Jos Buttler Sachithra Senanayake