In some sports, especially cricket, there are unwritten rules about what goes on during the heat of battle. Such rules aren’t illegal or against the rules, but are considered against the spirit of the game or a moral crime of sorts. One such term is ‘Mankading’, the practice of running out an unwitting opponent which has hit the headlines recently. As the 2019 Cricket World Cup approaches, the cricket fans might want to know what exactly Mankading means. This article talks about the term Mankading, recent instances and the famous Aswin-Buttler incident.
Mankading: The term
In simple terms, “Mankading” is the practice of running a batsman out before a ball has been bowled. The first recorded instance of the controversial dismissal in international cricket occurred in 1947. The Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad ran Bill Brown out during India’s tour of Australia. Mankad had warned Brown several times before he ultimately dismissed him. Since then, this very frowned upon dismissal took the unofficial name “Mankading”. Mankad, in this case, was in the right as he had no other option to put an end to the unfair advantage that Brown was taking but to run him out. Hence, many hold the opinion that rather than bringing disgrace to the bowler’s name, Mankading should take Brown’s name as it was he who was actually at fault.
The Aswin-Buttler IPL incident too has a back-story. Moreover, it wasn’t the first time that these two were involved in Mankading. In the 2012 Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia, Ashwin “mankaded” Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne after he was backing up too far. Well, what Aswin did was actually within the laws of the game. However, Sachin Tendulkar and stand-in captain Virender Sehwag had then withdrawn the appeal. Similarly, in 2014, Sri Lankan bowler Sachithra Senanayake had ‘mankaded’ Buttler after warning him in the previous over.
Let us have a look at the MCC Law:
Law 41.16 Non-striker leaving his/her ground early
“If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one in the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.”
On the contrary, Fraser Stewart, MCC’s manager said, “Buttler was in his ground as Ashwin got into the position when the non-striker could have reasonably expected the ball to have been delivered. Further, he revealed that Ashwin paused to allow Buttler to move out of his ground and then he put the wicket down. However, Buttler didn’t make much effort to get back. It is one where we just felt the pause was just too long and therefore not within the spirit of cricket.”
Instances of Mankading: Going back in Time
Instances of ‘Mankading’ in Tests
- Bill Brown by Vinoo Mankad, Australia versus India, Sydney, 1947–1948
- Ian Redpath by Charlie Griffith, Australia versus West Indies, Adelaide, 1968–1969
- Derek Randall by Ewen Chatfield, England versus New Zealand,
- Christchurch, 1977–1978
- Sikander Bakht by Alan Hurst, Pakistan versus Australia, Perth, 1978–1979
Instances of ‘Mankading’ in ODIs
- Brian Luckhurst by Greg Chappell, England versus Australia, Melbourne, 1974–1975
- Grant Flower by Dipak Patel, Zimbabwe versus New Zealand, Harare, 1992–1993
- Peter Kirsten by Kapil Dev, South Africa versus India, Port Elizabeth, 1992–1993
- Jos Buttler by Sachithra Senanayake, England versus Sri Lanka, Birmingham, 2014
Instances of ‘Mankading’ in T20Is
- Mark Chapman by Aamir Kaleem, Hong Kong versus Oman, 2016 Asia Cup Qualifier, 2016
There are indeed lots of grey areas in the MCC Law. Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this Spirit causes injury to the game itself. The bottom line is that why should a batsman get even an extra inch which might turn out to be the difference between a run and a run-out at the other end. If the bowler oversteps even by a whisker, umpires don’t think twice before ruling it a no-ball, then why the stigma attached to Mankading? It is beyond comprehension why this rule is characterised as lacking sportsmanship. Well, so far the rules clearly defend this act.
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