The MANKAD Quarell : Was R Ashwin within his rights to dismiss Jos Buttler?

IPL 2019 has already seen a string of controversies in the first week right from Match 1. RCB bowled out for 70 in Chepauk Stadium, Umpires failing to check Malinga’s no-ball, a seven ball over bowled by Ashwin and the latest issue that has divided the cricketing fraternity with the so called Mankad controversy. Harsha Bhogle, Sanjay Manjrekar, Murali Karthik were all in favour of Ashwin Mankading Buttler whereas Shane Warne, Michael Vaughan, James Anderson were against this decision and expressed their disappointment and frustration in various ways.

It all happened in the last ball of the 13th over when Ashwin decided to do something out of the box and dismiss Jos Buttler in the most unethical way. Rajasthan Royals were cruising along until that point of time as they managed to decimate Punjab bowlers in the first 12 overs scoring 105 runs with Buttler’s quickfire half-century. Ashwin noticed Buttler leaving his crease at the time of his delivery throughout that over, and it was in the last ball in which he stopped his action midway, saw Buttler who was well past the popping crease and managed to ‘run-out’ (the correct term to describe this issue) Buttler who was trying to get back in the crease. A heated argument then followed on between Buttler and Ashwin as the decision was taken upstairs and it was the third umpire who gave it out on the big screen. A livid Buttler was then seen shaking his head on his way back to the pavilion as that was the turning point for Kings XI Punjab who went on to win the game by 14 runs.

Law 41.16- Non Striker leaving his/her ground early.
This was previously Law 42.15 and is the Law that enables the bowler to run out the non-striker before the delivery. In the light of much publicity and controversy, this Law has been thoroughly debated, with two changes being made:

1. Extending the point at which the run out of the non-striker can be attempted to the instant at which the bowler would be expected to deliver the ball. This will have the effect of keeping the non-striker in his/her ground for longer.
2. Changing the title of the law to put the onus on the non-striker to remain in his/her ground. It is often the bowler who is criticized for attempting such a run out but it is the batsman who is attempting to gain an advantage. The message to the non-striker is very clear – if you do not want to risk being run out, stay within your ground until the bowler has released the ball.

The law clearly gives Ashwin authority to run out Buttler if he is outside the crease at the point of delivery. But these sort of dismissals are often regarded ‘unethical’ and Ashwin on social media was heavily trolled for this very reason as people began to call him a cheater.

This controversy was blown out of proportion as people began to express their opinions on whose side they were on between Ashwin and Buttler. Harsha Bhogle mentioned on his Twitter handle “There is nothing in the laws about warning the batsman. Just as there is nothing in the laws about a wicket keeper warning a batsman for being out of the crease and not stumping him.” Shane Warne was not happy with the words of Bhogle as he responded, ” Harsha you are missing the point completely & I’m disappointed in you as you always push the spirit of the game – now you condone this behaviour ? Ashwin’s actions were simply disgraceful, and I hope the BCCI doesn’t condone this sort of behaviour in the #IPL #spiritofthegame ” This resulted in dispute between the people supporting the law of that particular rule and the spirit of cricket being disrupted. Therefore Ashwin was well within the laws to dismiss or run out Buttler in this instance but the mode of dismissal suggested that Ashwin does not give a damn about the spirit of the game being disrupted as he responded in the post match press conference, ” I did not plan it, but it was within the rules of the game and that is why I decided to do it “

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