Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler
Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler walking back to the pavilion after he was dismissed by Kings XI Punjab's Ravichandran Ashwin (right) during the IPL Twenty20 match at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on March 25. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The debate is on as to whether Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin’s decision to ‘Mankad’ Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler in Jaipur on Monday was right or wrong. Ashwin, well-known for his shrewd knowledge, rules of the game and the coaching techniques — given he runs his own cricket academy — used a grey area in the Laws of Cricket to dismiss Buttler. As per the Law 23 (3), Ashwin was within his rights to do what he did against Buttler as the ball is in play from the moment he starts his run up and hence a batsman is supposed to have at least his bat inside the bowling crease at the moment of delivery.

However, there is a general reluctance among bowlers to exercise this right because such a dismissal would be regarded as unsporting. Attempting to steal a run during a bowler’s run up constitutes ‘unfair play’ — Law 42 (12). So if a bowler feels that the non-striker is backing up too far, the bowler can remove the bail. Ashwin did this when Butler — on 69 — was steering Rajasthan smoothly towards their target. Rajasthan needed 77 runs from 41 balls. The debate is whether Ashwin or any bowler would have sacrificed a winning chance by not using the law.

Ashwin justified his act by stating after the match: “Look it was very instinctive. It wasn’t planned or anything. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don’t know from where the understanding of the spirit of the game comes. If it’s there in the rules it’s there.”

Rajasthan’s mentor Shane Warne tweeted: “So disappointed in @ashwinravi99 as a Captain & as a person. All captains sign the #IPL wall & agree to play in the spirit of the game. RA had no intention of delivering the ball — so it should have been called a dead ball.”

Rajasthan’s coach Paddy Upton went on to say: “I think we’ll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that’s the kind of things they want to see, and we’ll leave it up to the cricket world to judge Ashwin’s actions tonight.”

Incidentally, Buttler was run out backing up too far against Sri Lanka in 2014 after two warnings by Sachithra Senanayake. Ashwin has also run out Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne for backing up too much, but the then India skipper Virender Sehwag withdrew the appeal. The question for the future is should this law now be altered to avoid such situations?

What is Mankading?

Mankading is referred to running out of a batsman standing at the non-striker’s end by the bowler. India’s left-arm spinner Vinoo Mankad ran out Australia’s Bill Brown in the Sydney Test of 1947 while Brown was backing up. The Australian press hit out at Mankad stating he was unsporting but Australian skipper Don Bradman backed Mankad and such a dismissal came to be known as ‘Mankaded’

In the 1987 World Cup match between Pakistan and West Indies, Courtney Walsh refused to run Salim Jaffar out. West Indies lost the game to Pakistan but Walsh’s act is termed as one of cricket’s most sporting acts.