IPL 2019: Mankad Controversy

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) released a statement on IPL 2019’s ‘Mankad’ controversy that was sparked during the 4th match between Punjab and Rajasthan. It is clear that Ashwin has neither broken the laws nor damaged the spirit of the game as former players have come out in support of him.

IPL 2019: Mankad Controversy IPL 2019: Mankad Controversy Source : AFP

On Monday, English wicket-keeper batsman Jos Buttler, while playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL was run-out by Kings XI Punjab captain Ravi Ashwin on 69. What sparked the controversy was not the dismissal itself, but the manner of which, which is known as ‘Mankad', named after Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad who effected such dismissal for the first time when he ran out Bill Brown in the Sydney Test of 1947. The method of dismissal is legal but is seen by many as going against the spirit of the game. "This law is essential. Without it, non-strikers could back up at liberty, several yards down the pitch and a law is needed to prevent such action," the MCC statement read on Tuesday.

The incident has sparked a debate ever since. Buttler was previously dismissed in a similar fashion by Sri Lankan bowler Sachitra Senanayeke in 2014. Ravi Ashwin dismissed Lahiru Thirimanne similarly in 2012, but captain Virender Sehwag withdrew the appeal.

The ambiguity arises because it could have been ruled out or not out, depending on how "the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball" is interpreted by the umpire. If Ashwin did delay his action to let Buttler leave his ground who was in his ground when he expected the ball to be released, only then it will be unfair and against the spirit of cricket. Ashwin has however stated that it was instinctive. Jos Buttler, who is usually calm, was livid with the mode of dismissal.

Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid said while speaking to The Times of India (TOI): "It's within the laws of the game and that's pretty clear. So I don't have a problem with someone deciding to do it. Ashwin was well within his rights to do what he did. However, personally, I would prefer it if somebody warns someone first. That would be my personal choice, but I respect someone's view to think differently. I might not agree with it necessarily, but I would just have to agree to disagree whether someone should run someone out without warning him."

Shane Warne called the act ‘disgraceful'. Dravid, however, felt that the reactions have been too extreme. "I think some of the reactions were overblown. Questioning Ashwin's character because he did that is totally wrong. He has every right to his view. You might not agree with it, but it was well within his rights to do it and that does not make him a bad person. It is not about being a gentleman or a non-gentleman. This is not a judgement on his character, but his reading of the law. He has not cheated anybody, nor is he a bad person because he did that." Said the former Royals' skipper.

Shane Warne said on his Twitter handle: "This win at all costs mentality has got to stop & the integrity of the game along with the spirit of the game must be of the most importance, as we need to set examples to the young boys & girls playing cricket!"

At the post-match press conference, when Ashwin was asked about the incident, he said, "Look it was very instinctive. It wasn't planned or anything like that. I actually didn't load and he (Buttler) left the crease. It's there within the rules of the game. That's always been my take on it because it's my half of the crease. I don't know from where the understanding of the Spirit of the Game comes."

R Ashwin was severly criticised by Jos Buttler's England teammates Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy while South Africa pacer Dale Steyn felt Ashwin was not going to win any Spirit of Cricket Awards.

Former England captain Kevin Pietersen felt that Ashwin's action was against the spirit of the game. "It's not on, it's an absolute shocker," he said.

MCC stated the law in their statement on the incident. They clarified that it has never been in the Laws that a warning should be given to the non-striker and 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. Moreover, with decisions now being made by millimeters in TV replays, it is right that they should remain in their ground at the non-striker's end until it is fair for them to leave.

Law 41.16 on Non-striker leaving his/her ground early states that:

"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.

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