Copy of 2022-09-21T173651Z_1643271405_UP1EI9L1CXDGV_RTRMADP_3_CRICKET-ODI-ENG-IND-1664118261215
India completed a 3-0 series victory over England in the third and final one-day international after a controversial dismissal by Deepti Sharma. Image Credit: Action Images via Reuters

Jhulan Goswami’s final international game at Lord’s, the home of cricket, raised eyebrows for a controversial reason than what the legend of India should have remembered it for.

The drama happened in the 44th over while England’s women were batting when Indian spinner Deepti Sharma ran out Charlie Dean for backing up too far at the non strikers end when delivering the ball. It is informally referred to as a Mankad, after Indian batter Vinoo Mankad, who was the first player to enact the type of run out in a Test match. India had already won the series and were up 2/0 and England were playing for pride. India wanted to give their legend a perfect farewell in her last game and lots was at stake. England required 17 runs to win, with one wicket left chasing India’s below par score of 169 with Dean and Freya Davies taking the score to 153 when the incident happend.

Non striker

The new law of MCC 41.16.1 clearly mentions that ‘if the non striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes in the play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball the non striker is liable to be run out.’ That’s why Davies was given out when it was referred by the on field umpire.

Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian captain, backed the decision of her bowler saying that Sharma did not commit a crime and that it was game awareness about what the batters are doing. Her England counterpart Amy Jones said she was not a fan of taking wickets in such a manner but it depends how India feels about it and since it’s within the rules it stays out.

The last wicket divided opinion among many players with Aakash Chopra tweeting ‘Well done Deepti Sharma, you did the right thing’. Ravichandran Ashwin who did the same thing in an IPL game against Jos Buttler went on to say that Deepti should be given a bravery award for it knowing the social media stigma she would have to deal with after it. Stuart Broad tweeted a ‘Run out, terrible way to finish the game, well within the laws but not in the spirt’. Scott Styris tweeted ‘Don’t make the laws of cricket conflict with the spirit of cricket and we won’t have a problem’.

Bad taste

Cricket is a gentleman’s game but yesterday’s incident has left a bad taste. There will be always two sides with one saying how can the non striker have an advantage of taking the start before the ball is bowled? Some might say it’s not in the spirit of the game as former cricketers tweeted. Who is right and who is wrong and as Harsha Bholgle tweeted ‘Imagine a world cup final, 1 to level the scores, non striker charges down for a single and is in by a quarter of an inch. Would that be fair if she or he makes it? And if she does not charge down and gets run out and would running less to win be in the spirit of the game?’

Courtney Walsh did not run out Abdul Qadir in a 1987 World Cup game when he had the chance to and was hailed for his sportsmanship but his team eventually lost. Had he run out Qadir for backing up too much West Indies would have won.

I leave it for our readers to decide and comment what is right and what is wrong.