Why Fuss Over Mankading?

The infamous rule of Mankading

The Law 42.15 of the Playing Conditions for the on-going ICC U-19 World Cup states:

“The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to deliberately 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 possible.”

Yes, the bowler Keemo Paul knew the rules. It was the last over, opposition (Zimbabwe) needed three runs to win and West Indies, a wicket. As soon as the big screen displayed “OUT”, it was certain there would be divided opinions on the outcome. Predictably, many former and current cricketers took their outrage on twitter. Words like “Unbelievable, Not Out” (Darren Lehmann); “disgraceful behaviour” (Stephen Fleming) were echoed by many other cricketers on social media.

My question is: Why is it a disgraceful behaviour if it is within the laws of the game?

It is not what you call a usual dismissal, however, it has happened in the past and umpires have no choice but to ask the appealing captain, if he wishes to withdraw before deciding the outcome. While the bowling side always bears the brunt – what about the batsmen?

Technically, Mankading resembles a run-out. The name has remained in the rule books since the time Vinoo Mankad dismissed Australia’s Bill Brown during the Sydney Test match in 1947. If it was included in the playing condition, then the inclusion must be debated instead of questioning the ‘Spirit of the Game’. Cricket is run by officials, on-field and supported by two other umpires and the match referee. It isn’t an Ultimate game, where the players referee the game and emphasis of ‘sportsmanship’, ‘Fair Play’ or the commonly abused word ‘Spirit of the Game’.

West Indies played by the rules of the game and one cannot point figures for that. They didn’t cheat, it wasn’t embarrassing (except for the batsman who backed away a touch far and that costed the match) and disgraceful is not the word I wish to use here. If you have followed the game and watched many matches, there are incidents that are shameful, involved deliberate cheating and contained verbal abuse.

But MankadING is part of the playing conditions, right?

However, history suggests there are more to rules; cricketers are humans, hence the debate of right and wrong never ceases. Personalities take over in case of incidents such as ‘Mankading’ on and off the field, while the controversial rule continues to exist.

Ian Bishop, the former West Indian cricketer and a commentator at the U-19 World Cup summed up nicely: “We’ve have to leave the emotions aside. It’s in the law books, so we’ve not to get carried away. History of Mankad is such, it causes stigma. Future cricket matches have to kill this.”

 “Rules of the game or say Spirit of the game ARE like tax laws. Some like it, some don’t. There are penalties imposed for non-payment or partial disclosure or irregularity. However, many people go by the rules and pay the amount they owe, while few pay after having found the loopholes that exists within the tax laws. If loopholes are part of the law, should we blame the people or make BETTER rules with clarity ?”

Or should Mankading rule be done away with, just like few countries that do not collect taxes.

What do you think – should the Mankading rule remain in cricket?

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