The ‘Mankad’: conduct unbecoming?

Ravi Ashwin’s controversial “Mankad” of Jos Buttler in the IPL overshadows Steve Smith’s return to International Cricket.

 

This is a lousy way to be dismissed and has enraged fierce debate ever since the first “Mankad”.

 

Although Ashwin was well within his legal rights to mankad Buttler, was it within the spirit of the game. Most likely not.

 

What are your thoughts about this form of dismissal?

 

Clip from You Tube

 

Almanacker Dave Brown wrote about this issue a few years ago, this is his reprised post:

 

The New Year’s Eve Big Bash League game will be remembered for its conclusion. Travis Head’s stunning late burst of 56 runs in 15 balls did not just conclude with his century and victory. It also whipped 46,389 Adelaide Oval patrons into a frenzy of eardrum bursting proportions. If you think the BBL is entirely disposable try sitting next to a cricket-mad nine year old for a game and listen to them reel off facts and figures from T20 games years into the past.

 

Brilliant and memorable as that was, the last over of the Sixers’ innings also contained some interest. After an incredibly inept display of umpiring with two incorrect decisions in the one ball (Brad Haddin middled the ball through to the keeper. Not only did umpire Fry give it not out, he also awarded a wide despite the ball being within the indicator line outside off stump) there was a somewhat heated confrontation between Haddin and an understandably frustrated bowler in Ben Laughlin. Having just robbed the bank Haddin thought he’d give the manager financial advice.

 

Three legal balls later, with Haddin at the non-striker’s end, Laughlin stopped in his delivery stride and gently removed the bails – Haddin out of his crease – the dreaded Mankad.

 

The extended arms of the laws

 

As it relates to the Mankad, law 42.15 of the game currently states: “The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker.” Cricket Australia’s Conditions of Play for the BBL which modify the laws for the purposes of the competition actually broaden the rule to allow the bowler up until the completion of the delivery stride, prior to normal release point, in which to Mankad the non-striker.

 

Ben Laughlin went beyond any cricket-legal obligations by giving Haddin a warning. Of course he copped a mouthful of abuse for his trouble. Despite the fact that he seems to barely speak on a cricket field but to unleash a string of invective, here is the rub. Haddin clearly felt that Laughlin had behaved inappropriately by even warning, let alone Mankading him (would that be a Mankaddin?). Were he still alive today and interested in cricket, Julius Sumner-Miller might ask ‘why is it so?’ Short answer is I have no idea.

 

Warning, Will Robinson, Mankad approaching

 

First off, why should a warning be given to the non-striker? He/she knows what they are doing when they leave the crease. In fact it can be argued that doing so contravenes the very next law of the game (42.16 for those playing at home). Can’t we just assume that the bowler objects to it and may choose to run the non-striker out at their discretion? The non-striker has a very simple solution open to them. It involves placing a bat over a crease and leaving it there until the bowler has released – simple enough when practiced by highly paid professionals.

 

That, of course, is not the problem. It’s the concept that it is somehow inappropriate or ungentlemanly, dare one say unAustralian, to even consider invoking the rule in the first place. If described in twitter terms we are in the realms of the ‘flog’ or the ‘shit bloke’. It is, apparently, not the way cricket should be played. If only cricket had a well publicised concept of the how the game should be played and had gone to some effort to codify that understanding. Hang on a minute – they have.

 

The spirit of the game

 

The preamble to the laws of the game covers off the spirit in which the game should be played. Specifically it refers to a range of non-Mankad related activities, including directing absuive language towards opponents and sharp practice (say, pretending you hit the ball when otherwise plumb LBW). So an alien (that had taken the time to read the laws of the game cover to cover) watching the game for the first time would be entirely puzzled by the suggestion that Laughlin’s behaviour was inappropriate but Haddin’s was not. So what is really going here?

 

Certainly not an unspoken consensus, even if considered as such by batters / batting sides. There are plenty of people who consider the Mankad an appropriate form of dismissal, with or without warning, including Don Bradman (obviously he has been a bit less vocal in his support of late). In fact, internet search ‘Mankad’ and most of the top returns are a range of cricket journalists and players defending the practice. Cogent arguments for the inappropriateness of the practice are thinner on the ground.

 

Are batters trying to pull a swifty? Attempting to use the appearance of consensus / spectre of the ‘shit bloke’ tag to trick bowlers into obeisance? Is this effectively a form of bullying in action? Why do we have a game where the rules and the spirit enforced are different to what is in the rulebook?

 

They don’t like it up ‘em

 

In a One Day International between England and Sri Lanka at Edgbaston in June 2014, Sachithra Senanayake Mankaded Joss Buttler. Senanayake had already warned Buttler twice, yet when the Mankad was administered, the umpires checked with Sri Lankan captain Mathews if he wanted to withdraw the appeal (it is not clear why umpires do this). Alistair Cook later described the non-recall of Buttler as ‘a pretty poor act’. Sri Lanka were booed off the ground after winning the game.

 

It is worthwhile noting that Mahela Jayawardene, who had been so opposed to the practice in 2012 when Ravi Ashwin Mankaded Thirimanne in an India v Sri Lanka One Day International (appeal subsequently withdrawn), forcefully defended in post-match interviews Sri Lanka’s right to Mankad Buttler.

 

Perhaps it is very much the fabric of cricket. The fabric of many organisations for that matter. People seeking to enforce contested codes of behaviour for their own benefit. Is there an abuse of power inherent in such actions? Perhaps cricket, again like the world outside its bubble, is about the establishment and exercise of power: an intimidatory fielding team over the batter; the BCCI over world cricket; the batting orthodoxy against the lone Mankadian.

 

Or is it just that batters don’t like getting out and fans don’t like losing? Simple as that?

 

Read Dave’s piece about the history of the number 6 in Australian cricket.  https://www.footyalmanac.com.au/almanac-cricket-from-walters-to-marsh-a-brief-history-of-the-australian-no-6/

 

 

To find out more about Almanac memberships CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. "Play up Norwoods!"

Comments

  1. Scott McIntyre says

    Nice one, Dave.

    The “ungentlemanly conduct” anti-Mankad argument is a non-starter, in my view. Backing up out of the crease is a form of cheating, so how running out a cheat can be classed as unsporting or ungentlemanly surpasses my understanding. I think this argument is one that some people pick up early in life and carry with them without really thinking it through.

    I don’t even agree with the idea of the warning. It allows the batsman to reap the rewards of sharp practice without bearing any real risk. If you are out of your crease you can be, and should be, run out, I reckon.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Dave 1st off appalling umpiring to make two mistakes on the same delivery.Ben who isn’t backward in coming forward ( pretty sure Ben is the nephew of Peter Norwwod 84 Premiership player) now if Ben as alleged called,Haddin a cheat re not walking that’s not on but we all understand his frustration for the incorrect decisions.Mankading I do not understand any critiscm of a bowler for a batsman cheating has me bewildered surely it must be cricket etiquette that a batsman watches the bowler let go of the ball and then back up.Part of the problem is batsman backing up with the wrong hand and not actually watching the bowler bowl I do not understand where this came in to vogue and it also helps the chances of a batsman being run out from a straight drive incredibly,Ed Cowan helped end his test career by doing this twice.I will only applaud a mankad as a batsman is cheating thanks,Dave

  3. Haddin is a GOM, and should join the rest of us GOM’s in the pages of the Almanac (I guess the BBL pays better). Agree wholeheartedly that in the age of professionalism and big money, batsmen should not be cheating by getting an advantage in sneaking cheap singles.
    My assumption is that in the amateur days of the game with only long form cricket, the act of wandering out of the crease as the bowler released was more ‘absent minded’ rather than sharp practice. There was little advantage to be gained, so the penalty of being dismissed seemed disproportionate.
    The self serving objection to Mankading in the modern game is just a hangover from the lilywhite days of 50 years ago that has no relevance today.

  4. Dave Brown says

    Thanks for the comments gentlemens. Yep, Scott, the only scenario I can think of is where a bowler is trying to trick a batsmen who is genuinely not trying to take advantage, rather moving with the expected release of the ball. That is not the situation in any of the recent scenarios however. In the Buttler example, Sri Lanka had warned him in the previous ODI and he just ignored them – flat out cheating. Perhaps fielding sides should start pressuring umpires to enforce 42.16 rather than asking captains if they would like to withdraw Mankad appeals.

    In which case, Rulebook, I like Laughlin more than I already did.

    Grumpy Old Man, PB? Seems like a logical progression of thought and time.

  5. Hello Dave. I’ve always thought that if the batsman is out of their crease then run ’em out. Afterall, the wicketkeeper is not obliged to warn the batsmen prior to a stumping. I think it’s an anachronism that is irrelevant in today’s game, especially in Twenty20 in which the bowlers are already at such a mammoth disadvantage. Top read.

  6. Andrew Weiss says

    To me Haddin was just being what Haddin quite often is – a person who likes to give out sledging but does not like to receive it too much. I wonder if Haddin when keeping would have ever given a batsman a warning if he was out of his crease and Haddin stumps him. I doubt it. How about giving the batsman a warning when he gets run out because he backs up to far down the bowlers end. Don’t think that would happen. A rule is a rule. If a bowler can not get a batsman out when his foot is one millimetre over the line making it a no ball then a batsman at the no strikers end can get out if the are out of their crease before the bowlers bowls it whether a warning has been given or not.

  7. Dave Brown says

    Thanks Mickey and Andrew – seems we are in agreement. Now to storm the ICC

  8. Luke Reynolds says

    Totally agree with Peter B’s assesment about days of old when there was just long form cricket. As a year round indoor cricketer, the Mankad is very much in play, and should be in outdoor cricket, at very least in the shorter forms. Think it would add to the T20 game. Well wriiten Dave.

  9. Barry McAdam says

    Really? Back in my day the mankad was really poor form.

  10. Barry McAdam says

    $&@? I’m old, I’ve just gone on a “back in my day rant”. See you in the nursing home

  11. Phil Brereton says

    Max Walker Cricket Camp. Assumption College, Kilmore 1985. I was bowling the second last ball of the last over and mankaded the kid at the non strikers end.

    Kerry O’Keeffe who was umpiring gave him not out, even as he stood half way down the wicket looking back at us.

    O’Keeffe told me it was the most unsportsmanlike thing he’d ever seen and that I needed to give him a warning. I asked – should I also let the batsman know that I’m planning a yorker the next ball too?

    At this point he dragged me back to the top of my run up by my arm telling me I was a little brat and I needed to learn some manners.

    With tears in my eyes, I bowled the last ball of the innings, and caught and bowled the batsman. I turned around throw down the stumps, probably hoping to hit O’Keeffe more than the stumps and said “Well how is he THIS time? “. O’Keefe simply said “good catch”.

    I left the field getting heckled by all the parents watching and sat in our car dreading my turn to bat.

    I made 2 runs and was out 2nd ball. I couldn’t wait to leave the camp and get home. The sting in the tail, was that despite hours of trying with various alcohols for the rest of the summer I couldn’t get KO’K autograph off my cricket bat cover which 33 years later is still there.

    Kerry – he was out ! And yes I probably was a brat.

  12. Dave Brown says

    Wow, Phil, that’s pretty upsetting. Took me a moment to work out you weren’t applying the alcohol internally.

    I must admit, despite my convictions, when umpiring c-grade Under 12s this summer I failed to give out a correctly executed Mankad by one of my players. The thoughts going through my head at the time were not wishing to create an ‘incident’ between the teams as you experienced. It’s just plain silly that people feel so strongly about a clearly constituted law of the game.

  13. I cannot stand it when batsmen “crib” out of their crease.
    It is cheating – plain and simple.
    Russell Jackson on twitter suggested the umpires should signal “one short” if the batsman does this.

    But, having said that….
    Ashwin’s Mankad was a disgrace. It was pre-planned to lure Butler into thinking he had bowled the ball.
    If you look closely, Butler was not cribbing.
    This may well open a Pandora’s box.

  14. Pure and simple,WATCH the ball leave the bowlers hand,how if I can coach kids to do this and back up with the correct hand,turning blind as well yet the elite can’t has me stuffed

  15. Dave Brown says

    Yeah, I share Russell’s interpretation of the laws Smokie, but am not sure it is entirely clear in that regard (i.e. in this scenario what actually makes the ball ‘live’?). The MCC has some work to do, particularly in the light of this particular incident. Really interesting discussion on Adam Collins and Geoff Lemon’s podcast about whether the way it is currently worded relates to an expectation of delivery based on a period of time or position of the bowler’s arm (they think the latter).

    Yep, Rulebook, regardless of the controversy the solution is so simple.

Leave a Comment

*