The ‘controversial’ run out of Jos Buttler yesterday has blown up in the cricket world, creating strong opinions on both sides and a swarm of misinformation. Many current and ex-cricketers have made their opinions clear, whether it be pro-mankad or otherwise, with the main reasons cited against it being outlined (and scrutinised) in this blog post. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ‘mankad’, it’s the practise of running out the non-striker before the ball is bowled – if he is out of his crease, of course.
‘He didn’t mean to gain an unfair advantage’ – This is simply ridiculous. So what if he didn’t mean to gain an advantage, he’s still out. The lines are there for a reason, and they are pretty useful, too. If intent is brought into any sporting rulebook it’s bound to come with problems, so thankfully it hasn’t in this instance. Law 42.15 is very clear, that the bowler IS permitted to run out the non-striker. Not dependant on intent. Not dependant on having previously given a warning (we’ll come back to this later). Just because he’s not ‘trying’ to gain an advantage doesn’t mean he hasn’t gained one.
‘He was only out of his crease by a couple of inches’ – Again, ridiculous. Can you imagine the pandemonium caused if people tried to argue this about all runouts? How about stumpings? The lines, drawn on the pitch to designate ‘in’ and ‘out’ aren’t there for how close you are to being within them, they’re there for the binary option that is ‘out’ – either a yes or a no. If you were to take it a bit further, this ‘close to being in’ logic could be used to give sixes that bounced just inside the rope, disallow catches off of edges that ‘only just hit the bat’ and even, bizarrely, claim victories in matches where ‘we nearly got as many runs as them’.
‘It’s against the spirit of cricket’ – Aha, we’ve finally reached it. The ‘spirit’ of the game. So, I’ve read the Spirit of Cricket, the 402 word Preamble to the Laws, and I can’t find anything in it that forbids mankad. I doubt that many of Buttler’s supporters have even glanced at it, let alone found any evidence that it ‘deeply prohibits this kind of behaviour’ as I’ve so been told.
‘It’s not specifically stated in the preamble, but the gist of it would say otherwise’ – So the Spirit of Cricket is indirectly telling players to ignore the Laws of Cricket? Yeah, right. The gist of the Spirit of Cricket can essentially be summarised in two words. ‘Play nice’. As far as I’m concerned, throwing bats, grabbing shirts, screaming in faces and hurling abuse is all against the spirit of cricket. Note, this does not include sledging, unless of course it becomes abusive or threatening, Mankading, however, does not even come close to this. Sure, the Spirit of Cricket can tell you to mankad nicely, ie. give a warning to the batsman, maybe even two…
If you’d like to find out more about why the Spirit of Cricket is inherently flawed (with a small segment on mankad near the end), Peter Miller and Dave Tickner give it a comprehensive run down on their podcast, which can be found here.
Thanks for reading, and make sure you come back soon as I’ll be updating this as often as I have something to talk about.Follow @thatcricketguy1