In Depth

Cricket’s ‘Mankad’ row: Ashwin backed by the MCC after Buttler IPL dismissal

England and Rajasthan Royals star Buttler was controversially run out by Kings XI Punjab skipper Ashwin

One of the biggest debates in cricket - the “Mankad” dismissal - has raged again this week after England star Jos Buttler fell victim to Ravichandran Ashwin during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Monday.

Named after India bowler Vinoo Mankad, who ran out Australia’s Bill Brown in 1947, the Mankad dismissal is “the law regarding running out a batsman backing up at the non-striker’s end”, the BBC reports.

Law 41.16 states: “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.”

Batting for the Rajasthan Royals Buttler was controversially run out by Kings XI Punjab captain Ashwin, who has since come under fire from cricket fans, ex-players and pundits. Buttler reacted furiously to the dismissal, the second time it has happened during his career, but Ashwin said his actions were “within cricket’s rules, [so] can’t be called unsporting”.

Spirit of cricket

The Daily Telegraph reports that the controversial Mankad has “reopened the debate about the spirit of cricket” and The Guardian says that the latest incident has “split opinion in the cricket world”.

Former Australia spin bowler Shane Warne was one of Ashwin’s biggest critics and said on Twitter: “Ashwin’s actions were simply disgraceful and I hope the BCCI doesn’t condone this sort of behaviour in the IPL.

“As captain of your side you set the standard of the way the team wants to play and what the team stands for! Why do such a disgraceful and low act like that? You must live with yourself and FYI – it’s too late to say sorry Mr Ashwin. You will be remembered for that low act.

“Any player in the game that does that to anyone is an embarrassment to the game and as captain it’s even more disgraceful.”

However, former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and ex-Australian batsman Dean Jones offered support to Ashwin, says the Guardian.

Johnson said: “Personally I would warn someone if I was to do it but the batsman should also play fair by staying behind the crease. It’s a bit like the underarm serve in tennis right?”

Jones added: “Don’t blame Ashwin here as it’s allowed in the laws of the game. How is it disrespectful or against the spirit of the game if it’s allowed within the laws of game? Blame the administrators for making the law.”

‘Mankad law is essential’

The MCC, cricket’s lawmakers, has backed Ashwin over the Buttler incident and say that the law regarding Mankading is “essential” to the game, the BBC reports.

In a statement the MCC said: “It is up to both teams to ensure the game is played within both the laws and the spirit of cricket.

“Some feel that Ashwin delayed his action to allow Buttler the chance to leave his ground and that Buttler was in his ground when he expected the ball to be released.

“If it was a deliberate delay, that would be unfair and against the spirit of cricket. Ashwin claims this not to be the case.

“Without the law, non-strikers could back up at liberty, several yards down the pitch. It has never been in the laws that a warning should be given to the non-striker.

“Nor is it against the spirit of cricket to run out a non-striker who is seeking to gain an advantage by leaving his/her ground early.

‘It is a shame’

Former England captain Michael Vaughan is not a fan of the Mankad, but says it’s an acceptable part of cricket. Writing in the Telegraph, Vaughan said: “I did not like it but accept it was within the laws of the game.

“I don’t agree with it because there is no skill involved in the dismissal. Batsmen should be given a warning but the MCC have said it is a legitimate dismissal and not an act of bad sportsmanship.

“I don’t like the message it sends. It is a shame. But it would not surprise me if we see it in the World Cup or even in four-day cricket in the future.”

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