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IPL 2020: How right is Ricky Ponting in telling R Ashwin not to indulge in ‘mankading’?

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Mankading! The method of run-out where a bowler dismisses a non-striker by hitting the bails before bowling when the latter is outside the crease. This term created a furore in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) when Ravichandran Ashwin mankaded Jos Buttler in the game between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur.

There was plenty of criticism for Ashwin, with many arguing that it was against the spirit of the game. The bowler, on his part, stood his ground. The incident had an impact.

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Many batsmen at the non-striker’s end did not back up too far. Just ask Shardul Thakur. Had he not stayed in the crease and had he backed up far, Chennai Super Kings would have decided their game against Royal Challengers Bangalore by a super over and not lose by one run.

In IPL 2020, before a ball has been bowled, the term has already created headlines. Ricky Ponting, the head coach of the Delhi Capitals side, has said that Ashwin will not be indulging in mankading until he is the head coach.

“That’s going to be a conversation and that’s going to be a hard conversation I will have to have with him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll take it on the chin. I think, even him, looking back now… probably he’d say it was within the rules of the game and that he’s right to do it, but it is not within the spirit of the game. Not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi Capitals anyway,”

Ponting was blunt.

Ironical but correct?

Ricky Ponting Sydney Test 2008
Ricky Ponting had became during the 2008 Sydney Test against India the ‘fourth umpire’ in giving Sourav Ganguly out caught behind. (Credits: Twitter)

Ponting’s words divided social media, with the Indian fans criticising him vehemently. They pointed out Ponting’s behavior during the 2008 Sydney Test against India which saw massive umpiring blunders and how he became the ‘fourth umpire’ in giving Sourav Ganguly out caught behind.

Ashwin, on his part, has always defended mankading and reiterated he did not understand where the spirit of the game came into the equation.

“It wasn’t planned or anything like that. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don’t know from where the understanding of the Spirit of the Game comes from. I don’t understand the point because it’s rules. I didn’t even load and he left the crease. It’s always been my take on the crease, because it’s my half of the crease,”

Ashwin said at that time.

Right to not Mankad

 Mankading
According to the new law, it is not necessary for the bowler to warn the batsman. (Credits: Twitter)

What does the law on Mankad say? According to Law 41.16, it states, “If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one in 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.”

However, the MCC made a crucial modification in 2017 which stated bowlers are allowed to run-out the batsman at the non-striker’s end up to the instant at which they “would be expected to deliver the ball”. In the new laws, it is not necessary for the bowler to warn the batsman. In previous instances, the bowler had to warn the batsman that he was moving out of the crease.

So, according to the new MCC rule, Ashwin is not wrong to Mankad. Ponting’s suggestion that he should not Mankad looks strange. It is like asking a wicketkeeper to not stump the batsman when he has danced down the track and missed a ball. This point was raised by former India batsman WV Raman.

Ponting, unfortunately, has a convenient view on the Spirit of the Game. The rules can be interpreted according to convenience. In the MCC rules, Mankading is permitted. It would be a sad thing if Ashwin does not Mankad any batsmen, for that would be once again taking away the advantage from the bowler and stacking it for the batsmen who already enjoy so many advantages.

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