Ashwin’s ‘Mankad’ on Buttler not in spirit of game

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Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Yuzvendra Chahal (right), watches as Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma (left), and Quinton de Kock run between the wickets to score during the Vivo IPL T20 cricket match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians in Bangalore, India on March 28. (AP)

Smith, Warner bans set to end

MUMBAI, March 28, (RTRS): Ravichandran Ashwin’s recent ‘Mankad’ dismissal of Jos Buttler in the Indian Premier League was not “within the spirit of the game”, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has said after reviewing footage of the incident.

 The MCC, custodian of cricket’s laws, had earlier said the decision could have gone either way depending on how ‘the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball’ is interpreted.

 “Having extensively reviewed the incident again and after further reflection we don’t think it was within the spirit of the game,” Fraser Stewart, the MCC’s manager of the laws of cricket, told the Daily Telegraph.

 Kings XI Punjab captain Ashwin sparked a chorus of disapproval from fellow players and pundits after running out Buttler when the Rajasthan Royals batsman was backing up at the non-striker’s end instead of completing his delivery.

 The dismissal, named after India bowler Vinoo Mankad who ran out Australia’s Bill Brown in similar fashion in 1947, is permitted under cricket’s laws but viewed by some as going against the spirit of the game.

 The MCC changed its stance because Ashwin paused after his delivery stride and waited for Buttler to leave the crease before whipping the bails off.

 “We believe the pause was too long between the time Ashwin reached the crease and the moment it was reasonable to expect the ball would be delivered,” Stewart added.

 “When Buttler could have reasonably expected the ball to be delivered, he was in his ground. We now think at the key moment Buttler was in his ground.

 “Buttler, it’s fair to say, did not make a concerted effort to get back into his crease after Ashwin had delayed his delivery, and didn’t help himself in that respect.”

 Stewart said non-strikers should stop trying to gain an advantage by backing up before the ball was bowled.

 “It’s also unfair and against the spirit of cricket for non-strikers to leave their ground too early,” he added. “All these debates wouldn’t be necessary if non-strikers remained in their ground until the ball is on its way down the pitch.”

Meanwhile, after a long, hard 12-month slog for Australian cricket, ex-skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner will be allowed to rejoin their old teammates after serving bans for a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Friday marks the day both senior batsmen can return to the national team, but that won’t translate into an immediate recall.

Smith and Warner are playing franchise cricket in the Indian Premier League, while Australia is in the United Arab Emirates playing Pakistan with two games left after clinching a five-match limited-overs international series.

The World Cup starts in late May in England, so there’s not much time left for players to prove themselves, or get reacquainted.

Smith and Warner met up briefly with the Australia squad in Dubai this month and said it felt like they’d never left.

But Aaron Finch, who took over as captain of Australia’s limited-overs squad, said there was some nervousness at that meet-and-greet.

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