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.”
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 the practice of backing up.
“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. 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.
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