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Sachithra Senanayake ‘Mankads’ Jos Buttler: Why doesn’t the spirit of cricket accept it?

The bowler had warned the batsman and Jos Buttler was wrong in not taking the warning seriously © Getty Images
The bowler had warned the batsman and Jos Buttler was wrong in not taking the warning seriously © Getty Images

Sachithra Senanayake ‘Mankaded’ Jos Buttler to spark a new controversy. Nishad Pai Vaidya asks why the ‘Spirit of the Game’ bars the players from effecting such a dismissal?

Cricket is well and truly a batsman’s game in the modern era. The laws do favour them when it comes to powerplays but what does one do when the ‘Spirit of the Game’ is also on their side? You talk about the ‘Mankading’ dismissals and the ‘spirit’ is reluctant to accept that it is fair. Sachithra Senanayake ran-out Jos Buttler during his delivery stride in the latest England-Sri Lanka contest. Buttler had walked out too far as Senanayake came in to bowl and had been warned before the appeal was made. Yet, some say it is against the ethos of the gentleman’s game.

Firstly, the “Mankading” mode of effecting a run-out is acceptable under the laws of the game. The International Cricket Council (ICC) accepted three years ago and bowlers can go on to dismiss batsmen who are leaving their crease too early. Surely, the batsman shouldn’t get the advantage of trying to steal a run just as the bowler is running in. Why should he get a headstart even before the ball is in plan, before the bowler delivers it? Isn’t that unfair.

Therein lies the hypocrisy of the said ‘Spirit.’ Why is it alright for a batsman to take the advantage even as the bowler is running it? Why can’t the bowler stop him from doing so? The laws very well permit and empower him to do so. What’s more is that the cricketers first warn their opposition and then only effect it if the other batsman has transgressed the line again. The batsman shouldn’t be allowed to take advantage of such situations and the gentleman’s code that the player’s abide by, shouldn’t encourage him to do so as well.

Back in 2003, a similar controversy arose in Indian domestic cricket when Murali Kartik ‘Mankaded’ a Bengal batsman. In fact, Kartik only effected it once he had warned the batsman twice. As H Natarajan pointed out in his article, the batsman had chosen to ignore the warnings and to blame Kartik for breaching the ‘Spirit of the Game’ isn’t right. It wasn’t the first time Kartik had done it as he was responsible for a similar incident in county cricket. Again, he had played by the rules.

One needs to ask as to why this mode of dismissal isn’t acceptable. As H Natarajan also wrote that the bowlers are penalised for a no-ball the minute the transgress the line, but why is it “fair” for a batsman to walk out even as the bowler is running in? Perhaps, cricket lovers need to introspect and open their eyes to this big anomaly before them.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

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