English cricket August 31, 2012

Criticising Mankading is double standards

Paul Leary
A batsman who ignores a warning and continues to leave his crease before the ball is bowled is surely contravening the spirit of the game, rather than the bowler, even if it's unintentional

Yesterday in Taunton, during the game between Somerset and Surrey in the county championship, Surrey spinner Murali Kartik, having warned the Somerset batsman Alex Barrow two balls previously for excessive backing up before the ball had been delivered, promptly ran the aforementioned non-striker out. Cue in pandemonium at his dismissal, umpire requests for a withdrawal of the appeal, and verbal abuse from the crowd.

Former Somerset keeper Steve Snell, watching in the crowd, told the local radio station that he'd "never seen anything like it in my nine years in the professional game. It's really bad sportsmanship and I'm shocked by it, if I'm honest." Snell's incredulity caused him to wonder "how he [Kartik] isn't embarrassed when he looks back at what he's done".

I recall a similar sentiment created by an opposition batsman in a recent club game, who having edged behind on about 10, went on to score 70 not out and win the game. Sadly however, despite ours' being a sport which ostensibly values fair play and sportsmanship, being a 'non-walker' is happily tolerated in the cricketing world and simply seen as a subjective preference. This is regrettable, as bearing in mind that a batsman doesn't tend to hang around when they've middled a ball down square leg's throat, declining to walk off when the margins are less obvious equates to deceiving not just the umpire, but also the paying spectator, and indeed sport itself. In short, it's a form of cheating.

Thankfully, the Decision Review System increasingly restricts this, however those who bat on despite knowing themselves to have been out certainly don't induce anywhere near the same barrage of criticism suffered by those involved in yesterday's incident. The criticism directed at Kartik and his captain, Gareth Batty, is not only a case of double standards and hypocrisy, but is simply unfounded. Surrey's captain and coach have been forced into a humble apology, for as far as can be judged, playing not only within the laws of cricket, but also the spirit.

Had a warning not been given, critics would have been justified in their complaints, however, a batsman who ignores a warning and continues to leave his crease before the ball is bowled is surely contravening the spirit of the game, rather than the bowler, even if it's unintentional. It might be said that Barrow's was simply a careless, innocent mistake. So is letting your back foot drag outside the batting crease, and this is swiftly punished by a gleeful wicketkeeper.

Besides, if Mankading isn't to be allowed, even when a warning has been given, then the batsman may as well stand half-way down the pitch and save himself the stress of a tight single. So when Somerset captain Marcus Trescothick commented that "it's not something you want to see in cricket", my thoughts were that, true, perhaps a beautifully turning off break cannoning into the off stump may have been easier on the eye of the spectator, but from a sportsmanship standpoint, I don't see an issue.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on October 5, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    I don't think Mankanding is kind of unsportive action. It only means that non-striker tries to cheat and gets caught during the action or he missed his concentration. Isn't cricket a game of concentration, He should be punished for that. If mankanding is not allowed I guess it is better to allow the non-striker to stand directly on the batsman's end instead. Why bother standing on the other side. Bell's incident is ugly,he was completly ignorant of the status of the game. What Dhoni did was more than Sportsmanship. The worst is what Shewag was made to do when Ashwin Mankand in Australia. unfortunately, it is Indian's whoes name keeps popping up when ever Mankanding tops the headlines. If Mankanding is not allowed so should be the "NO BALLS". No ball is there to protect the extra advantage the bowler gets, so does Mankanding. To Trescothick "Yes, it is ugly to see a batsman trying to cheat and get got and get away on the back door i nthe name of sportsmanship".

  • testli5504537 on September 5, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    Why the talk only about Kartik 'running out' Barrow, and no talk about the former warning the latter about backing up too far from the non-striker's end?

  • testli5504537 on September 3, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    @Cricket24/7: First off, the writer isn't even Indian. Secondly, this isn't a Cricinfo article; it's sent by a reader. Honestly, get a life.

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Incredible that so many press column inches and efforts in posting website comments centre on the Spirit of the Game when the incident should have been nipped in the bud by umpire Peter Hartley by calling Dead Ball. For such a dismissal to be actioned the bowler must remove the bail(s) BEFORE ENTERING HIS DELIVERY STRIDE according to the Laws and Peter Hartley, as a county umpire, should know this law backwards. Looking at the incident on the ECB website it was obvious that both Kartik's feet had landed, he was commencing his bowling action and had to physically turn round to remove (rather dramatically) the bails. Maybe county umpires are so immersed in Rules and Regulations and technicalities to forget the Laws (even allowing for the fact that we all make mistakes - this is a basic one)? So..... Dead Ball, no need for discussion, apologies, public roasting of Kartik and Batty, boos of spectators, naval gazing, analysis.....fact, full stop....move on (as 'Sir Ian' would say)...

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    Excellent article. I do not see any reason to allow the non-striker a free start! What is the logic? A run is completed when the batsmen cross the 22 yards. A start makes it shorter and is unfair to the fielding side. Only reason a start is allowed is because it is a tradition. Cricket must be played within the rules. Tradition comes second. There is no reason to give the non-striker a warning...just get them out and get rid of the tradition of a free start for non-strikers. Unsportsman-like? Hogwash!

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    Spot on Paul, good article. It's the hypocrisy that's always stuck out like a sore thumb, and you've cited the very same examples we all think of. Cricket24/7's comment is pathetic, playing the race card, quite sad and pathetic.

    You just can't understand how the self appointed defenders of this fair and lovely game have no problem with batsman not walking after definite edges, bowlers verbally abusing the opponents, yet the run out of a batsman who was stealing ground unfairly, AND WARNED PRIOR, is causing so much drama.

    To cricket 24/7 - to continue the race card playing, would you have bothered commenting if the same article was written for a white person mankading? Food for thought mate.

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 18:01 GMT

    great to see greater support for "mankading" now. how come a bowler drags his foot 1 inch wide and its a no ball.. if this z not against so called ghostly"spirits" of game den how come a batsman strolling even after warning is against it? get a life englishmen.. if d batsman hasnt got any brain then betr play him gilli -danda

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    It is ridiculous that a bowler running the non-striker out is against the spirit of the game, but the non-striker leaving his ground before the ball is delivered is not.

    What is to stop the non-striker from standing halfway up the pitch or even right next to the striker before the ball is delivered? Does the spirit of the game change depending on whether you are 3 feet or 11 yards or 22 yards outside your ground?

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    I am not an Indian but I see nothing wrong in what Murli did given that he'd warned the player. Its the nonstriker who's cheating by backing up too far. I'll tell you what cheating is: 1. Colin Cowdrey building up a reputation as a 'walker' but not doing so when it really mattered 2. Tiger Lance saying Yes when Ian Chappel the batsman asked (in 1966/7) whether he'd caught it when there was some doubt that he had. He later admitted that he hadn't and said Ian didn't ask did it hit the ground first.

    3. Javed Maindad appeling for a ctach (Birmingham 1982) which he'd caught on the half volley

  • testli5504537 on September 2, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    Whatever's within the rules is fair game.

    I would also like to make a case for taking runs if the ball has hit the runnner off the incoming throw. If the ball hits the stumps and goes away, overthrows are acceptable, so why not if the fielder hits the runner by mistake, assuming of course that the runner hasn't deliberately deflected the ball.

    I wonder from where these ideas of deeming things that are legal as per cricket laws ever came to become unsportsmanlike.

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