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To Mankad or not to Mankad, that is the question

When Keemo Paul ran out Richard Ngarava in the final over, with the under-19  Zimbabwe side requiring three runs with a wicket in hand, he re-sparked a debate about the run-out law that allows a bowler to break the stumps if he or she finds the non-striker out of bounds.

The West Indians insisted on upholding the appeal. The umpires had no option but to declare the batsman out. The dismissal was legal.

The Zimbabweans were understandably distraught.

Their hopes of making the Under-19 World Cup quarter-final were shattered—cruelly.

Law 42.15 of the MCC Laws of Cricket pertaining to Fair and Unfair Play states:

Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery:
The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over.
If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.”

From Bradman.jpg — Don Bradman — Source: http:...

Don Bradman — Source: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sir Donald Bradman had this to say about the original Mankading when India’s Vinoo Mankad ran out Australia’s Bill Brown in the second Test in 1947:

“An early sensation came in Australia’s innings when Brown was once more run out by Mankad, who, in the act of delivering the ball, held on to it and whipped the bails off with Brown well out of his crease.

This had happened in the Indian match against Queensland, and immediately in some quarters Mankad’s sportsmanship was questioned.

For the life of me I cannot understand why. The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the non-striker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered.

If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out?

By backing up too far or too early the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage … there was absolutely no feeling in the matter as far as we were concerned, for we considered it quite a legitimate part of the game.”

Bryon Coverdale, in a 2013 article, is even more scathing in his indictment of greedy batters.

He wrote:

“The ICC’s playing condition 42.11 explicitly states that a mankad is fair. An additional clause should be added to state that an umpire must not consult the fielding captain before making his decision, unless the conversation is instigated by the captain.

Certainly a mankad is no less fair than when a striker’s straight drive rockets through the bowler’s hands and hits the stumps with the non-striker out of his ground. Of course, umpires rightly treat that as they do a regulation run-out. Just as they should with the mankad.”

Cricinfo carried a poll ‘Should the Mankad dismissal be part of the game?’ with its article covering the incident.

The results of the poll were as follows:

Yes – the batsman should not be allowed to gain ground unfairly 38.06% 21881

No – it is not within the spirit of the game 12.79% 7355

Yes – but only after the batsman has been warned once 49.14% 28250

Total votes: 57486

Coverdale’s views are consonant with the off-side rule in soccer and baseball rules about stealing bases.

In baseball, the pitcher and the catcher may try and tag out a runner who appears to be trying to steal a base by taking too big a lead-off. Unlike cricket, runners can take a head start towards the next base, but the pitcher and the catcher are within their rights to tag them out if they try to steal more than one base from a hit. Just like in cricket, a pitcher cannot abort or ‘balk’ once he or she commits to home plate.

Runners are never warned; the rules are crystal clear.

The naysayers to the above viewpoint subscribe to the notion that cricket is a gentleman’s game.

Is it, really? That’s debatable.

If this is how Under-19 cricketers play the game nowadays, it surely isn’t.


  • "The secret to good bowling is to keep believing you can dismiss a batsman. Once that thought turns to purely containment, the batsman is winning the battle." ---Ian Chappell.
  • Novak Djokovic wolves down Grand Slam titles. What he said: “It's much easier for the wolf that is going uphill and running up the mountain—not easier, but he was hungrier than the wolf standing on the hill.” Novak Djokovic savoured his 11th major and sixth Australian Open overall with a meaty metaphor. Comparing himself to a wild canine on top of the mountain, he said that he could not relax as his competitors were wolves too and hungrier. He added: “You can observe it from different sides, but, I believe that all the guys that are out there fighting each week to get to No. 1 are very hungry to get to No. 1, and I know that. I can't allow myself to relax and enjoy. Of course I want to enjoy, and I will, but it's not going to go more than few days. After that I’m already thinking about how can I continue on playing well throughout the rest of the season each tournament. Kind of a mindset that one needs to have if one wants to stay up there. Because I think you need to work double as hard when you're up there. I believe that I can win every match I play (and) I'm playing the tennis of my life in the last 15 months. The results are showing that. But you can get a very big slap from karma. I don't want that." The Djoker rounded off his reverie by assuring his listeners that he was ravenous to clinch his first French Open. He said: “Very hungry. But the wolf needs to eat a lot of different meals to get to Paris. Paris is a dessert.” What he really meant: “It takes more to stay at the top than to get there.” What he definitely didn’t: “What a wolf-pack we male tennis players are. Woo-hoo, Woo-hoo! Ready or not, here we come! Call me Wolverine!”
  • Hazel Keech stands vindicated. The British-Mauritian model and actress was ruthlessly trolled by ‘knowledgeable’ cricket fans for questioning Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to keep fiance Yuvraj Singh out of the firing line in the first two T20s. The tweet was later deleted but the fusillade of retorts from rude fans kept pouring in. Let Ms. Keech’s timeline tell the story: Yuvi seemed well on the way to proving his detractors right in the third T20 barely getting bat to ball with just five runs to his name off nine deliveries. That changed in the final over of the run chase; it was vintage Singh dispatching the first ball to the ropes and depositing the second in the stands. It was all over bar the shouting. The required runs had reduced from a screaming 17 off 6 to a manageable 7 off 4. A desperate bye off the third ball and it was left to Raina to collect the winning runs with cool aplomb. This is the latest on Keech’s timeline: Trust her man to come good and silence her haters with his exploits.
  • Sunil Gavaskar lights up the Melbourne night with his remarks. What he said: “He (Virat Kohli) can even bat at midnight without light and still bat well.  … Rohit kills you with tickle and Kohli can punch you to death. Either way you are going to die.” The original Little Master switched on his eulogistic side when Team India clinched the T20 series against Australia at Melbourne on Friday evening. He said: “He is setting the bar higher for the future players. He is in fantastic form… form which the players dream about. he can even bat at midnight without light and still bat well. The Australians cant get him out. They will have to wait for him to commit a mistake. I would not bowl to both of them. Rohit kills you with tickle and Kohli can punch you to death. Either way you are going to die. I want to see India win the series 3-0. Kohli should continue to bat at number three. Never ever flirt with form, it’s so fickle, don’t flirt with it. Yuvraj can bat during the Asia Cup, World Twenty20. Let India make a clean sweep. He (Dhoni) has got now Yuvraj, Ashish Nehra, Hardik Pandya in the side. He has plenty of bowling and batting options. It has eased off the pressure on him. Bhajji (Harbhajan Sigh) is sitting on the bench which means it is a very good selection. The balance is terrific. Pandya can bat at number seven and can bowl. Even if a bowler is hammered around, Dhoni can go to the other bowler. The Aussies were under pressure and it was a good omen for the Indians for the World Twenty20.” What he really meant: “Kohli’s batting like a dream. If you’re a day-dreaming bowler, dreaming of bagging either or both , Rohit will tickle you out of any such fancy ideas while Kohli will match you, blow for blow. Either way, it’s death by panache.” What he definitely didn’t: “Tickle me pink, I wonder if these two guys would love day-night Test cricket!”
  • Ravichandran Ashwin’s revealing statement that his side underestimated par scores in the early part of the ODI series leading to their comeuppance against a marauding Australian batting line-up is right on the money. The ace spinner said: "In the past 300 or 260s have been winning scores when we came and played an ODI series here. I think we played in that mindset coming into the series, trying to post a score rather than trying to overachieving and falling short. I thought we did pretty well to post 310s and 320s, just that the par scores were 330s." It was only in the fourth and fifth ODIs that the Indians were a match for their opponents. The lessons had been learned but it was too little, too late. The ODI series was lost without a semblance of a whimper or a whisper. Ashwin added: "As you saw in the last game, even at Canberra and Sydney, I think we would have achieved 350s. Maybe that's the reason. Obviously the wickets have gone flatter. So I think it was just a question of not calculating the par scores properly." Ashwin’s statements highlight the need to aim higher to get what you want. If you aim for 300, you’re unlikely to get more than that. Less probably, but very rarely more. The Indian team’s think-tank were definitely out of sync with the changing reality of Australian pitches outlandish batting skills in their young stars and the effect the ever changing ODI rules have had on team totals. The irony is that this is the same kind of thinking that pervaded visiting teams’ thinking patterns when they assumed a score of 260-280 was good enough to clinch victory on sub-continental wickets a few seasons ago. Indian batters proved them wrong easily overhauling these totals and posting 300+ totals when batting first. It certainly has been an Indian summer Down Under this series.
  • "There will be a conflict of interest if I start reviewing my performance. You have to put a PIL to judge my performance as the skipper." ---Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
  • "We often talk about training hard to be a fit cricketer and put in the hours in the gym and on the ground trying to get stronger and durable, but we forget one important aspect in a cricketer's career. Rest." ---Sanjay Manjrekar.
  • Is Ravi Shastri transforming into an MS Dhoni clone? Sample his recent statements about Team India’s performance Down Under: Whether Indian batsmen were too focused on milestones: "If they were focusing on milestones, Virat Kohli wouldn't have been the fastest to 7000 runs; he would have taken another 100 games. If that was the case, Rohit Sharma would not be having two double hundreds, and a score of 264." On the bowling performance: "Finishing touch is better bowling, and being more consistent as a bowling unit. As MS mentioned, there were too many easy boundaries. It is not like the batsmen had to earn it, they were given. That should be eliminated. Even if you cut that by 60%, we will have tighter games. Those are the areas. Attention to basics. If we do that right, who knows… What you want to see is the bowlers learning from what has happened in the first three games. If that happens, that will be the biggest plus irrespective of the result. That is what I said last year when we played cricket in Australia. We might have lost the series 2-0, but deep inside I knew the way the boys played there was only going to be improvement. It is a young side, there have been three debutants, we have been plagued by injuries. No excuses, I am not giving any excuses here, but it is an opportunity for the youngsters to learn. In Australia nothing comes easy. It's one of the hardest places to play. You are playing against the world champions. The fact that you are competing, and they have competed right through this one-day series, is very good. “ On whether the team needs a psychotherapist: "I am the shrink, don't worry about that.As far as extra bowlers are concerned, yes we do need (them). We need bench strength. If you look at the last six days, we have been in three time zones. It is not often you go through that. You play in Perth, get on a flight to Brisbane where the time is different, then to Melbourne where the time is different. All in a matter of six days. When you consider all that, I think the boys have done extremely well. When it comes to bowling, what I would suggest in the future to the BCCI is to have extra players. Instead of 15 on a tour like this, probably 16 would be advisable. Somewhere in the subcontinent 15 is fine. Here, when you travel so far, and suddenly you get injuries, that is something I will suggest. At least 7-8 bowlers have to be there with the amount of cricket." Compare these statements against MSD's:  “It is not about the leader. I am captain at the moment and somebody else will come later. It is more important to see the areas we are lacking, the departments which have to improve when it comes to shorter formats. We don’t have a seaming all rounder so let’s not even go to that topic. If you see this series it is a relatively inexperienced bowling lineup. Ishant Sharma has played a lot of international cricket but he is not someone who has been consistently part of the format. Umesh Yadav has been on and off and there are others who have made their debuts here. So we have to assess right now is how good the individuals are and what are they doing and what’s their rate of development." Don't the duo sound about the same? Is this the gung-ho Ravi Shastri we are all accustomed to? Contrast these statements against those he made last year when India toured Sri Lanka. When Team India suffered a shock defeat in the first Test in Galle under Virat Kohli: "Let's hope lightning doesn't strike twice, because we will not change our style of play. Our mindset will be the same. But to close the deal you have to walk the distance and we made that mistake in the first Test. They are getting closer and for this team, it is a case of getting one on board. Then it will be the start of many. It was not a question of buckling under pressure. They go out with intent. The endeavour of this team is to play fearless cricket that comes with mindset. These boys have enough talent. I am sure they must have thought after the match why I didn't play this shot, why I didn't play in this manner." On changing their losing away record: "You don't come to a cricket ground to draw a match so you play a brand of cricket where you look to take the game forward and you look to take 20 wickets, that is paramount. You have got to think how you can take 20 wickets to take the game forward and win the game." While the Indian batting has delivered and in spades, the bowling has left a lot to be desired. But has the Indian side really played fearless cricket in the past four games? Can Ravi Shastri respond?
  • Are tennis players cheats? An expose by BuzzFeed and the BBC would have us believe so. An investigation into a match allegedly tanked by Nikolay Davydenko in 2007 against a lower-ranked Argentine opponent, Martin Vassallo Arguello, uncovered a series of anomalies in games lost by top-ranked players in both men and women's tennis. Eight of the top-50 men's players at the Australian Open are under the scanner. In the past, match-fixing was felt to be restricted to the lower echelons of the tennis hierarchy where journeymen lost games in exchange for cash which they could hardly hope to see in their journeymen careers. But now, the scourge of cheating appears to have spread its tentacles all over the pristine sport. Novak Djokovic---amongst other players---disclosed that he was approached in 2007 but he refused. Roger Federer and Serena Williams have called for names to be revealed. The investigating team indicts gambling chains across countries such as Russia and Spain. But they have no real luck pinpointing guilty players as they had neither the authority nor permission to access players' phone and bank records. There exists no definitive proof of collusion with punters and guilty players can continue to bluster their way through this crisis. It is up to the tennis authorities to ensure more transparency in the way the game is played. Perhaps, it would help if more lower-ranked players were able to earn a living from the game. This view is opposed by Federer again who feels that cheats exist at every level and increasing prize money at lower rungs is not the solution. Whatever the outcome of these new revelations, it is certain that upsets will be looked upon with suspicion in the future and not simply considered a glorious uncertainty of sport. It's a pity, really, because everyone loves an underdog. Players have been calling for a reduction in the number of tournaments they participate in a season. They claim that the unrelenting touring takes a toll on mind, body and spirit and they are unable to be consistent and motivated enough throughout the arduous season. The authorities would do well to look into these complaints but the players do themselves no favours by opting to partake of the bounties of exhibition games in their off-season. Greed certainly greases the wheels, one way or the other.
  • Anuraag Thakur of the BCCI vocalised his support for MS Dhoni's continuance as skipper in the shorter formats of the game. Dhoni has lost his last three series as captain whereas Virat Kohli has earned his stripes at home instilling aggression and dynamism that seemed lacking in recent times under MSD. Does Team India really need two leaders? Not really. Kohli is more than capable of leading the side in all three formats. And team-members will not have to readjust every time the other takes over the reins. Dhoni leaves behind a tremendous legacy but it's time for a change in approach. The losing streak has to end. The multiple leaders theory came into existence because there were quite a few players who were unable to make the adjustment to the shorter formats. But modern cricketers are more adaptable and thus I foresee a reverse trend towards only one skipper in all three formats. Similar changes have been effected in South Africa and Australia with Steve Smith and AB DeVilliers leading the side in both Test and ODI formats. While there will always be Test and ODI and T20 specialists, it is the more versatile players who will be the natural leaders of cricketing sides, the ones who are able to adjust and exhibit both strategic and tactical acumen in all formats. Multi-dimensional cricketers are the need of the hour when it comes to choosing leaders. What will Dhoni's role in the side be? Can he continue as a player? He's certainly fit enough to contribute and his experience cannot be discounted. The Big Three of Indian cricket, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid soldiered on as players much after giving up or losing out on the captaincy. Can Dhoni do an encore?
  • Team India have lost yet another ODI series to the Aussies away from home. The tag 'tigers at home, lambs abroad' would seem apt, except that the Indians have batted well in all three games. It's their bowling that has let them down. You may dominate your opponents at home but if you can't win overseas in alien and hostile conditions, you can never be considered a  great side. Indian fans wouldn't mind so much if their side lost a few games at home as long as they clinched a few more matches and series overseas. The only way to ensure that happens is to have conditions and  pitches much like the ones found in England, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Just three months ago, South Africa headed the ICC Test rankings. Today, they were knocked off their pedestal by a resurgent England. Team India are now No. 1 crowned by default on the back of their resounding defeat of the Proteans at home. Funny how in a matter of six Tests fortunes have changed and how. It also goes to show that if teams don't put up a fight overseas and everyone concedes that South Africa were dismal tourists barring the final Test, their performance at home can take a nose-dive. England did something similar to India when they toured here following their 4-0 whitewash at home. MS Dhoni would perhaps reminisce about the time he led Team India to the peak four years ago, and perhaps knowingly wink at Virat Kohli saying, "I told you so."
  • Two Rohit Sharma centuries, two 300 plus scores, yet the Indians couldn't keep the rampaging Aussies at bay. One could go with the excuses trotted out by Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni that his bowlers lacked bite and are incapable of bundling out the opposition. But one could say the same about the Aussies as well. The Indian batting failed to accelerate in the final 10 overs of their innings. As for the bowling, it's time Dhoni reassessed his options and picked bowlers who can  bag wickets given their current form and the conditions. The Indians are simply tasting their own medicine when they regularly chase down imposing totals in docile home conditions to their opponents' chagrin.
  • I didn't catch the first ODI between India and Australia and am not watching the second either. Hence, I was unwilling to weigh in on the fresh Decision Review System (DRS) controversy featuring George Bailey. But Ayaz Memon put it very succinctly in his LiveMint column: " is bizarre that a sport has different yardsticks for different teams. Imagine Grand Slam tennis tournaments where Hawk-Eye is deployed when Roger Federer plays Rafael Nadal, but not when he plays Novak Djokovic, who refuses to accept the technology. The issue of efficacy of technology then becomes subservient to the principle of fairness and equality: If the DRS technology in cricket is not good enough, then it should not be used in any match." That sums it up for me.  
  • Rohit Sharma is scoring hundreds by the dozen in ODI and T20 cricket. That appears to be his metier. But his form languishes in Test cricket. He is yet to grab his opportunities by the horn. Will he be yet another Yuvraj Singh lost to Test cricket because the likes of Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman meant that he was the perpetual bridesmaid? Or can he become India's Marvan Atapattu? Your prognosis is as good as mine.

Those Glory Days: Cricket World Cup 2011

Those Glory Days: Cricket World Cup 2011

Those Glory Days: Cricket World Cup 2011

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