MCC news July 17, 2014

Batsman's fault if mankaded - MCC

Stay in the crease, the MCC has once again reiterated to the batsmen, and avoid being mankaded. That missive was sent by the MCC's World Cricket Committee at the conclusion of its two-day meeting at Lord's when the panel said that it was "unequivocal in its belief" that the existing Law did not need any changes.

Mankading has long been a controversial topic and caused a lengthy debate in May when Sri Lanka's offspinner Sachithra Senanayake ran out Jos Buttler at Edgbaston for backing up too far after being warned initially. England captain Alastair Cook expressed disappointment at Senanayake's action when he said: "I was pretty disappointed with it to be honest with you. I hope I wouldn't do it."

The World Cricket Committee, which is headed by former England captain Mike Brearley and includes eminent ex-cricketers in Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid, Andrew Strauss and Shaun Pollock, said that the Law concerning the running out the non-striker was clear and the dismissal was not against the Spirit of Cricket.

"The World Cricket Committee reviewed the Law relating to running out the non-striker, in light of the dismissal of Jos Buttler in May's ODI series between England and Sri Lanka. It was unequivocal in its belief that the Law, as written, does not require any alteration," the MCC release said.

A lot of the ambiguity stems from the difference between the ICC Playing Conditions and the MCC Laws: while the MCC states the run out attempt must come before the bowler enters his delivery stride, the ICC allow it to come any time before the bowler completes his "delivery swing".

However Strauss, Cook's predecessor, said it was wrong to put forth the Spirit of Cricket argument. "This is not a Spirit of Cricket issue. This is just law of the game issue," he told ESPNcricinfo.

Asked if the committee was concerned if their advice could be misunderstood by the bowlers at the grassroot and club levels, who could employ deliberate tricks to get mankading, Strauss stressed that Law was completely transparent.

"There is a very strong feeling in the committee, and certainly one I share, that the obvious way to counteract any threat of mankading is to keep yourself fin the crease," Strauss said. "That is part of the Laws of the game. If you are out of the crease when the bowler delivers the ball you are running the risk of getting out. So it is a genuine dismissal.

"And it is a very easy thing for the batsman to do: you just watch the bowler bowl and once he has delivered you leave the crease. I don't think batsmen can justify being out of the crease in that manner and feel that it is unfair that they are run out.

At Edgbaston, after Senanayake had run out Buttler, the umpires asked Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, if he wanted to uphold the appeal. Mathews confirmed he wanted the appeal to stand and Strauss said it was unnecessary to give prior warning to the batsman.

"There is no obligation on the part of a bowler or a captain to give anyone a warning. It is up to a captain to decide whether he wants to uphold the appeal if the bowler does do it. Especially in this day and age of Twenty20 cricket batsmen look to back up as far as they can. This is an opportunity for the fielding side to say don't do that, stay in your crease and if you stay in your crease everything would be fine."

The committee statement added: "The unanimous view of the committee was that if the non-striker is out of his ground earlier than allowed in either the Laws of Cricket or the International Playing Conditions, then he can have no complaints should he be dismissed in this manner. Furthermore, the committee believes it was not against the Spirit of Cricket to uphold such an appeal, and urges batsmen to ensure they do not try to gain an unfair advantage by moving out of their crease before the appropriate time."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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