Ashwin’s controversial run out of Buttler NOT unsporting

By Kersi Meher-Homji

In the IPL match at Jaipur on Monday [25 March], King’s XI Punjab’s off-spinner Ravi Ashwin ran out Rajasthan Royal’s Jos Buttler just before delivering the ball.

This has created a lot of controversy. I wonder why. The batsman at the bowler’s end takes an unfair advantage by leaving the crease before the bowler delivers the ball. This can convert a dot ball into a single and a single into two runs…

THAT is unsporting by the batsman at the bowler’s end. And NOT unsporting for the bowler.

This takes me back to 1947-48 when India’s legendary all-rounder Vinoo Mankad had run out Australia’s batsman Bill Brown a few times before delivering the ball (after warning him). It was considered an unsporting act and that sort of dismissal is now known as “to be Mankaded”.

In my opinion this is in the laws of and in the spirit of the game. If a batsman when facing a bowler steps out a millimetre out the crease and the wicket-keeper stumps him, it is fair.

So why is to be “Mankaded” considered unsporting?

MCC, the guardians of the Laws of Cricket, have defended the controversial circumstances of Jos Buttler’s ”˜Mankad’ dismissal by Ashwin on Monday, stating that it is not against the Spirit of Cricket for a bowler to seek to run out a batsman at the non-striker’s end. 

The great Don Bradman had strongly defended Mankad in his book Farewell to Cricket in 1950. To quote Bradman, “Mankad was an ideal type, and he was so scrupulously fair that he first of all warned Brown before taking any action. There was absolutely no feeling in the matter as far as we were concerned, for we considered it quite a legitimate part of the game. I always make it a practice when occupying the position of a non-striker to keep my bat behind the crease until I see the ball in the air.”

What is fine for Bradman is fine for me and should be OK for all the ignorant critics of Mankad and Ashwin.

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