Cricket is a Gentleman’s game!
Over the past century, of this so called “Gentleman’s Game”, cricket has seen a host of strategies which has, unfortunately, contradicted the above phrase.
Be it the Bodyline strategy, adopted by Douglas Jardine to tackle Bradman and Co. or be it the infamous under arm delivery bowled by Trevor Chappell to Brian McKechnie to prevent the latter from hitting the maximum, a few players have done their best to stamp their names in fans’ memory, not necessarily because of their way of playing but because of their bewildering approach to this game.
Laws have been amended by the ICC to counter these strategies but still one such policy remains, which players, or rather bowlers, use till date to dismiss a batsman. It had started way back in 1947 and is still used as the cruelest method of dismissing a batsman. I am talking of the dismissal which is known as none other than Mankading!
When it all started….
It was in 1947 tour of Australia, when the 1st instance of Mankading took place. During the 2nd test, the then well known Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad removed the bails at his end when the Australian Bill Brown was backing up. Prior to this incident, in a tour match, Mankad had warned Brown of backing up too far before running him out, when he did for the 2nd time. But in this test, he didn’t even give a warning and straightaway removed the bails.
The Australians then, obviously, started criticizing Mankad for not showing sportsman spirit and dismissing the batsman in a foul manner. But few Australians, including the batting legend and captain of Australia at that time, Sir Donald Bradman defended Mankad.
From that day, this form of dismissal is famously known as Mankading, which comes from the name of the player who first started it.
…and is still prevalent till date
Laws were amended to prevent “mankading” but in 2011 it was revised once again bringing this form of dismissal into effect yet again. The revised law says clearly, “The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of 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.”
Jos Buttler was the latest victim of this rarest form of dismissal during the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka. Sachithra Senanayake had previously warned both Chris Jordan and Jos Buttler when they were backing up at the non-striker’s end before he dismissed Buttler when he repeated the same in the next over.
The disappointed English crowd booed but Rule is Rule!
If you take it in a logical sense, then I don’t think there is any problem with this kind of dismissal. It is unfair to back up before the bowler has even released the ball and the batsman should deserve the punishment of getting dismissed in the most unfortunate manner. Clearly the batsmen and their supporters get disappointed but the bowler has every right to do so.
If the batsman has already been given the warning of backing up before the bowler has completed his delivery stride, it is foolish to still commit the same mistake and thus getting victimized.
But if you take the spirit of cricket into consideration, this dismissal clearly goes against it. Mankading affects the title of “Gentleman’s Game” given to this sport. It is a very debatable topic but as long as this is made legal, controversies will keep on emerging. While some critics will keep criticizing it, some will keep defending it and last but not the least, the batsmen will keep getting disappointed of becoming a victim to the most cunning form of dismissal.