So, the England players and supporters, led by their captain, Alastair Cook, are bellyaching and whingeing about Senanayake running out Buttler at the non-striker’s end. Naturally, the crowd too joined in, and at the end of the game Cook appeared to say some nasty things to Matthews.
The bottom line is, who began this illegitimate incident that forced Senanayake’s hand? In other words, if Buttler did not provoke Senanayake by attempting to take a foul start there would not have been any incident. ICC playing regulation, amended in 2011, and applicable to this series states: “the bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker.”
As teen-aged cricketers at school our (unpaid) coaches used to clearly advise us, that while being at the non-striker’s end, to watch the bowler’s arm and move only after the bowler has released the ball. Seems Cook and Buttler have not been advised on this matter despite reaching international levels. A very sad state of affairs when one considers the captain of the country that gave this game to the world is in the dark.
Now, let me quote Mahela Jayawardena on this issue:
“We gave him a fair chance twice. Before the first warning, we told the umpires that he was taking too much of a lead and then he was warned again. We had to do that, because they kept doing it. We analysed our game after Lord’s. They took 22 twos in the last 12 overs. Ravi Bopara and he (Buttler) ran riot. And most of the time they were taking starts that are not legal by the written laws. We just wanted to make sure we got a fair chance. We warned them and we warned the umpires, but they didn’t listen to us, so we had to take the right steps.
“We always try to play in the right spirit, but if the other team is not playing in the right spirit and not going with the law, then unfortunately we had to take the law into our hands. It was the third time. It is fair enough, I think. We all need to play by the rules. If the other sides are not going by the rules, then they’re not playing by the spirit, so what can you do?”
Remember, this game was not a social affair between “Married vs Bachelors” or “Smokers vs Non-Smokers” but a (highly competitive) international game where players, from both sides, are expected to know the Laws of the game, and adhere by it. Even otherwise take this situation: say, the striking batsman drives a ball to the covers and takes a few steps to steal a run, the agile fielder quickly picks the ball and finds the batsman well out of his crease. Now, does one expect the fielder to merely warn the batsman to get back to his crease? Can you imagine the feelings of his team-mates? Similarly, when the bowler – repeatedly – observes the non-striker taking a foul start why should he warn the errant batsman? In fact, it is my considered opinion even a first warning by the bowler to the non-striker taking this unfair advantage (as further explained by Jayawardena above) need not be given – he is expected to know the Laws of the game.
This type of running a batsman out at the non-striker’s end is, derogatorily referred to as “Mankading” since the former Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad ran out Australian opening batsman Bill Brown way back in the 1947-48 Test series in a similar manner. Here’s Sir Don Bradman’s view on this issue as stated in his autobiography “Farewell to Cricket”:
“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…….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. On numerous occasions he may avoid being run out at the opposite end by gaining this false start……he (Mankad) was scrupulously fair that he first of all warned Brown before taking any action. 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.
I always make it a practice when occupying the position of a non-striker to keep my bat behind the crease until I see the ball in the air. In that way one cannot possibly be run out, and I commend this practice to other players.”
I hope Cook, the England captain, and members of his team are able to read this passage in Bradman’s autobiography on pages 146–147 and, in addition, be conversant with the prevailing ICC rules on the game as well.
One response to “Bradman supported Mankad’s action. Why, oh why, are the English whining!”
Cook is talking about the spirit without playing in spirit….