Dubai: Indian skipper Rohit Sharma upheld the spirit of cricket by withdrawing the appeal against his Sri Lankan counterpart Dasun Shanaka, which has earned the Mumbai batter plenty of praise for his sportsmanship.
Shanaka backed up too much in the final over before Mohammed Shami got into the bowling stride, and the smart pacer removed the bails to leave the Sri Lankan stranded, literally on 98. Nothing wrong now, morally or legally, as the new laws are in favour of it. But Rohit Sharma asked Shami to withdraw the appeal and allowed Shanaka to continue.
Really a good knock
Most teams don’t want their rivals to reach a landmark and try all the tricks to stop it. But the Indian skipper did not want to adopt this trick in his book and wanted to knock him down in a direct confrontation. Shanaka remained unbeaten 108 during Sri Lanka’s 67-run loss in the first One Day International in Guwahati.
“I had no idea he (Shami) did that (run-out) when he went up for an appeal,” Rohit told broadcasters Star Sports after the win. “We cannot get him out like that. We wanted to get him out, we thought we will get him out, but that was not something we thought off. But again, hats off to him, he played really well.”
But it was Rohit’s sportsmanship that was lauded by former Sri Lankan cricketers including Sanath Jayasuriya.
“The real winner was the sportsmanship of Rohit Sharma for refusing to take the run out. I doff my cap to you!,” Jayasuriya wrote on Twitter.
Former player Angelo Mathews said, “Not many captains would do this but hats off to @ImRo45 for withdrawing the appeal even though the law says so! Displaying great sportsmanship.”
The rare mode of dismissal was named after Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, who 75 years ago ran out Bill Brown twice in that fashion on a tour of Australia in 1948.
The dismissal ignites debate every time it happens, but was ruled legitimate by the International Cricket Council last year.
Recently Adam Zampa was denied a Mankad run-out in Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash League after TV umpire ruled that his arm had passed its highest point where he would be expected to release the ball.
Walsh starts the trend
There have been several instances when the batters were warned by the bowlers on backing up too far and the first instance that comes to the mind is when West Indian great Courtney Walsh didn’t Mankad out Pakistan’s Wasim Jaffer when the hosts needed two off the last ball to win the 1987 World Cup. Walsh warned the Pakistan pacer and went back only to concede the runs and miss making the semi-finals for the first time in the history of the World Cup.
In another instance, Mohammad Rafique of Bangladesh did not run out Umar Gul of Pakistan in a 2003 Test match in Multan and Pakistan eventually won the Test match by one wicket, according to veteran statistician Mohandas Menon.
Recently, Mitchell Starc warned Theunis de Bruyn twice during the South African Tour of Australia 2022-23 but chose not to Mankad. However, Indian legend Kapil Dev didn’t have so much mercy and ran out Peter Kirsten after warning him once during the 1992/93 series.
Plenty of camaraderie
In 2012 ICC Twenty20 World Cup Super Eight match between West Indies and England, Chris Gayle did not Mankad Eoin Morgan when he could have done so.
There have been plenty of camaraderie between rival players but nothing comes so close to what Rohit Sharma has done on Monday.
Calling back a player is something that one doesn’t see too often these days, after the advent of technology. Gundappa Viswanath recalling England’s Bob Taylor, who was confident that he had not touched the ball when he was given out caught behind during the 1980 Jubilee Test against India, is part of the rich history of Tests.
There have been only two instances in recent times when the batters were recalled after being given out, both involving England batters.
All-rounder Ben Stokes was recalled after crossing the field when he was out caught and bowled by Alzarri Joseph in St Lucia in 2019. However, replays showed that the West Indian pacer had overstepped and Rod Tucker called him back.
In 2011, India’s former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. known as captain cool, recalled Ian Bell was run-out after the England batter assumed that the ball had reached the boundary, left the crease. However, Praveen Kumar had saved the boundary and Bell was run-out, but Dhoni recalled him as the batter was not aware that the ball was still in play.
Virat Kohli asking fans to clap for underfire Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane asking Test debutants Afghanistan team to be part of the photograph after winning the match, South African players giving a fitting farewell to Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene after the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals underlines cricket’s status as gentleman’s game.