The debate around whether running out the non-striker, when he or she is backing up too far ahead of the crease, has picked up once again after India women’s team all-rounder Deepti Sharma dismissed Charlie Dean of England at the mecca of cricket — Lord’s Cricket Ground. This mode of dismissal is well within the laws and the next day, the MCC — the custodians of the game also came out with a statement, saying what transpired was well within the laws and it shouldn’t be looked at as anything more.
But several England cricketers, former and current, unanimously said that the act done by the Indian cricketer was not in keeping with the “spirit of cricket”. The dismissal has for long, in cricket parlance, been known as ‘Mankad’. A little backgrounder first, as to why this mode of dismissal has for long been called ‘Mankad’. India legend Vinoo Mankad had dismissed Bill Brown of Australia as he was backing up too far out of his crease during India’s first-ever series Down Under in 1947-48.
From then onwards, this mode of dismissal is referred to as ‘Mankad’ by western countries. However, this mode of dismissal got a major shot in the arm some days back, as the ICC came up with the new playing conditions which will come into effect from October 1. Regarding ‘Running out of the non-striker’, the ICC said “The Playing Conditions follow the Laws in moving this method of effecting a Run out from the ‘Unfair Play’ section to the ‘Run out’ section.”
Looking at the huge outcry over Deepti running out Dean, NDTV spoke to a few former players who are currently in India to participate in Legends League Cricket. We spoke to Ryan Sidebottom (England), Jacques Kallis (South Africa), Ross Taylor (New Zealand), and Lance Klusener (South Africa). Kallis, and Taylor said that they would not resort to this mode of dismissal, while Sidebottom and Klusener made some interesting observations.
“One I am a bowler, so I am biased. It is within the laws of the game, isn’t it? I think for too long, the batters have had it a little bit easy with the rules, two white balls and you can only bowl one bouncer in an over. It is very difficult for the bowlers; you have to stay in your crease. It is a contentious subject because people say it is not within the spirit of cricket but if you go by the rules, it is within the laws. It is a gentleman’s game; the women’s game is also rising. Yes, I agree with it, but on the other hand, it kind of does not put a great light on, I suppose, Jhulan Goswami‘s retirement and to win a game like that. But it is within the rules,” said former England pacer Sidebottom.
“I would prefer for there to be a warning, once you warn the batter once, I think then you have the opportunity to run out the batter at the non-striker’s end. I would say it is great for cricket because it is putting the sport on the map because people are having different opinions. We all have different ideas on how the sport should be played so I think it is great,” he added.
Former players Kallis and Taylor said that they would not like it if this mode of dismissal is done, and they would not run out the non-striker if it came down to it.
“No, I don’t support it. I am not going to say it is not right because it is within the rules. But it is not something that I would do, but I am not a bowler, I cannot do it either way,” said former Kiwi player Ross Taylor.
Talking about the same, Kallis said: “I will put it this way, if I was a coach of a team, I would not be happy with it. I think you have to give the batter a fair amount of warning, each one has their own way of doing it. That is my take on it. I would not be happy if someone did that in my team. I do not know what happened behind the scenes, but I have to say that you need to give batters a few warnings before doing it.”
Lastly, former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener had a different take on the whole issue, saying the umpires can check whether the batter is backing up too far ahead just the same way they do for no-balls.
“Mankad, the debate has gone on for far too long. The players do not need to respect the laws. There needs to be a clear way of going about it, whether you can go about it the same way I guess in terms of checking like we do the no-ball. It can be something that will take out of everybody’s hands. I guess the result, of whatever the penalty or whatever it is, it is black and white or colour, it would be there for everyone to see.”
“But I think, taking it just the way you look out for no-ball, you can watch for it as well in terms of backing up or whatever it is,” he stated further.
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