Kings XI Punjab pulled off a terrific win against Rajasthan Royals in their opening match of this season's Indian Premier League, but the victory was overshadowed by controversy as Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Jos Buttler by 'Mankading' the batsman.
The incident took place in the 13th over when Ashwin took the bails off at the non-striker's end while Buttler was backing up. The on-field umpire referred the call to the third umpire and Buttler had to walk after third umpire deemed it out.
Buttler was clearly not happy with the decision and he was probably upset because the bowler didn't warn him before he actually took the bails off. Rajasthan then crumbled in their chase of 185, ending up with 170/9 in 20 overs.
But what's 'Mankading', which has kicked up a storm, and is it against the Spirit of the Game? We explain:
What is Mankading
The term Mankading — used when a bowler runs out a non-striker before delivery — was coined 70 years ago when Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad twice ran out Bill Brown at the bowler's end during India's tour of Australia in 1947. The dismissals got significant coverage in the press back then and Indian player was criticised for 'unsportsmanlike' behaviour on the field.
There was support for Vinoo Mankad as Don Bradman, arguably the greatest batsman in cricket, wrote at the time, "For the life of me, I can't understand why (the press) questioned his sportsmanship. 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,"
Mankading was never illegal in cricket, but the rules regarding this kind of dismissal have changed over the years.
It is permitted to run the non-striker out after he or she has strayed out of the crease, but the bowler must do it before the delivery stride. It's a cruel way of getting dismissed even before the ball is delivered. Therefore, a section of cricketers and thinkers of the game invoke the 'spirit of the game' concept to state its unfairness.
The current guidelines for Mankading states, "If the non-striker is out of his ground from the moment the ball comes into play, to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him out."
The counter-point to Mankading — when looked at from the bowler's perspective — is that the non-striker is gaining an unfair advantage to complete a run by backing up before the ball is bowled. If a bowler has stepped out of the line, then it's called a no-ball and is penalised by one run.
This is not the first time Buttler has lost his wicket to a run out by Mankading. In 2014, during a match against Sri Lanka, he had to walk back after bowler Sachithra Senanayake Mankaded him.
This is also not the first time Ashwin has Mankaded a batsman. In 2012, he Mankaded Sri Lankan batsman Lahiru Thirimanne after warning him. But the then captain of the Indian team, Virender Sehwag, decided against taking the dismissal.
One of the recent high-profile incidents of Mankading happened during the 2016 Under 19 World Cup when West Indies bowler Keemo Paul Mankaded Zimbabwe's last wicket in the final over to secure a win by two runs.
Do you think Mankading is against the Spirit of the Game? Or is it just a way for bowlers to stop non-strikers gaining an unfair advantage? Have your say in our poll:
Reactions to Buttler's dismissal
In the aftermath of the IPL match, former England captain Michael Vaughan said Ashwin's actions were unacceptable.
"If @josbuttler had been warned well that’s fine ... if he hasn’t and it’s the first time I think @ashwinravi99 is completely out of order ... watch how often this happens from now on !!!!!!! #IPL", he wrote on Twitter.
Buttler's Rajasthan teammate Jofra Archer, who will soon qualify to play for England, also took to Twitter to express his anger.
Archer wrote of Ashwin: "You show no confidence in yourself or your bowlers to get the job done so you resort to that ? #greatcaptaincy" Archer later deleted the tweet.
However, Ashwin was unrepentant. "No real argument to that. I didn't even load and he left the crease. It's always been my take on it, because it's my half of the crease," he said.
Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane played down the controversy and said his team will take it "sportingly".
"We are not supposed to comment on a controversial issue. The match referee will take the call," he said.
With inputs from AFP