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Indian Premier League
Why Ashwin didn't do anything against sportsman spirit while mankading Jos Buttler
R Ashwin, captain of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) faced a lot of flak after he mankaded Jos Buttler of King's XI Punjab. Many also said that it was the turning point, after which the Rajasthan Royals lost the IPL encounter on 25 March, 2019. Every one slammed R Ashwin citing that his action was against sportsman spirit or spirit of the game.

What is sportsman spirit? Doesn't it mean an ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behaviour while participating in a game? To cite it plainly we can say that particular team or player must adhere to the rule of the game (no cheating) while competing to win the game without displaying any aggressive or insulting gestures towards the opponent.

Did R Ashwin cheat? Did he violate any rule of the game of cricket? If he was following the rules and wanted his team to win, then what's unsporting about it? Do you think that sportsman spirit is accepting defeat without competing? The way Jos Buttler displayed dissent I think that was against the sportsman spirit.

Before coming to this question let us understand what 'Mankad out' is. As per cricket rule, the moment a bowler starts his run up, the ball becomes a legal delivery. During that all types of outs are possible. Most of outs like, bowled, caught behind or LBW can be denied if the ball is a no ball. Run out is always possible whether it's a no-ball or wide ball. In case there's a 'stumped out' it's not given run out as the credit goes to the bowler.

Thus, when the bowler starts his run up the batsman must ensure that  he is inside the popping crease both at bowler's end and batsman's end else he will be either given run out or stumped out. Vinoo Mankad made the run out before delivering the ball on 13th December, 1947 when Australian batsman Bill Brown was outside of the popping crease at the bowler's end. That's why such type of a run out is called mankad run out or simply 'mankaded' since then although as per cricket rules, the same is also termed as run-out.

Don't forget Trever Chappell's under arm bowling on last ball at the insistence of captain Greg Chappell against New Zealand on 1st February, 1981 when New Zealand required six runs out of the last ball. This created a lot of controversy. In the subsequent tour of Australia to New Zealand the same thing was repeated twice. Finally, all realized that underarm bowling in modern cricket was against the spirit of the game or unfair, thus the rule was scrapped.

The reason of mankad out rule's existence is because the batsman at the bowler end shouldn't take any advantage of backing up far before the bowler has delivered the ball. That means the batsman can't leave the popping crease before bowler completes his delivery. If a batsman is doing so it's against the rules and the batsman is liable to be given out. Thus, Jos Buttler violated the rule to take advantage to cash in on the availability of a short run.

With use of technology, this rule can be revised. As there are dedicated cameras focused on the popping crease, the rule can be slightly revised. The mankad run out could be scrapped. Instead, if a batsman leaves the popping crease at the bowler's end before the delivery of the ball then that will be called a 'run short' or if that's a single that will be denied and batsman will be asked to maintain his position (change of strike will not be allowed as that can be exploited).

Let's take up the issue of the last ball no-ball controversy in the IPL game between RCB and MI where the umpire missed to notice Malinga's no-ball when RCB required just 8 run on the last ball. Had that no ball been given, there would have been two runs (no-ball and a single) resulting requirement of six run from the last ball. With AB De Villiers coming to the batting crease, it could have given a fair chance to RCB to win the game.

Thus the cameras at popping crease of both ends could have been used for no-ball calls along with "revision to Mankad rule'. In any case many a time Field umpires refer to third umpire to check for no-ball after a batsman is out. In many instances it's also seen that bowler actually delivered a no-ball where the batsman is out.

There could be a red/green light system in the screen which will show a fair ball or no-ball after each ball following which umpire will act.

Well I don't think third umpire can always look in to every ball. But then if some assistants are provided to look after the camera at popping creases I don't think it would be of any difficulty. Thus this is my proposal to ICC. For maintaining fairness of the game I think it's a small burden.

The conclusion is that R Ashwin didn't do anything against the spirit of the game rather followed the rules to win against a rival in a fair manner.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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