The absurdity of cricket supposedly being a gentleman’s game was on show in the IPL as commentators called for players to start a revolution.
Cricket really is a batsman’s game.
Respected Indian broadcaster Harsha Bhogle called out the “nonsense” around the “spirit of the game” during Chennai’s convincing 45-run win over Rajasthan in the IPL overnight as one incident showed why there should no longer be any stigma around one of the sport’s most controversial practices.
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West Indian Dwayne Bravo was seen backing up a mile late in Chennai’s innings as the Super Kings powered to 9/188, desperate for any advantage to sneak an extra run. He was at least a metre out of his ground at the non-striker’s end before paceman Mustafizur Rahman had even released the ball.
Now, the bowler is within his rights, if he sees Bravo so far beyond the crease, to knock the bails off and run him out before delivering the ball. However, “Mankading” — as the practice is known — has long been frowned upon as an unsportsmanlike act you simply don’t do.
Bhogle says it’s time for that perception to change, because too many batsmen are getting away with bloody murder.
“You cannot be there. He has stolen more than a yard there, Dwayne Bravo,” Bhogle said in commentary.
“That is why I believe you’re entirely within your rights — it should almost be mandatory in team meetings — to say, ‘Run him out’.
“All this talk about not being in the spirit of the game is so much nonsense.
“He has taken a yard!
“I never understood how it is in the spirit of the game to run less and claim the run. That is against the spirit of the game.”
Mustafizur was centimetres over the popping crease and got pinged for a no-ball, whereas there was no punishment for Bravo. He runs the risk of being Mankaded, but most bowlers are not game enough to do it, for fear of being condemned by the cricket world and ruining their reputation.
Former New Zealand fast bowler Simon Doull agreed with Bhogle.
“That picture we just showed where Bravo was so far out of his crease … is a great example of why he should be run out,” Doull said.
“The bowler is minimally over, yet he gets punished (with a no-ball).”
Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin sparked huge controversy in the 2019 IPL by Mankading England’s Jos Buttler, and has been vocal ever since about bowlers having the right to stop batsmen gaining an unfair advantage.
Ahead of the 2020 edition of the T20 tournament, Ashwin’s new coach at Delhi, Australian legend Ricky Ponting, said he didn’t want to see any Mankads from his premier tweaker.
“I’ll be having a chat with him about (Mankading), that’s the first thing I’ll do,” Ponting said on The Grade Cricketer podcast last year.
“Watching that (Mankad of Buttler) last season, as soon as it happened and he did that, I actually sat our boys down and said, ‘Look, I know he’s done it, there’ll be others around the tournament who’ll think about doing this as well but that’s not going to be the way that we play our cricket. We won’t be doing that’.
“Probably he’d say it was within the rules and he’s right to do it, but this is not within the spirit of the game, not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi Capitals anyway.”
However, Ashwin suggested Ponting changed his tune during last year’s tournament after he saw how far Australian Aaron Finch was backing up in a game against Delhi.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin said: “He (Ponting) said, ‘He (Finch) has gone too far. I’d have asked you to run him out’.”
Buttler got Rajasthan off to a strong start in its chase of Chennai’s target, scoring 49 off 35 balls, but the Royals collapsed to finish well short on 9/143 at the end of their 20 overs.