A keeper warns the batter: “Next time you leave the crease while trying to play a shot, I will not hesitate to stump you out. I am leaving you with a warning this time.”
The fielder standing in the slip cordon tells the batter, “Next time you cut the ball uppishly, I will take the catch and you’ll be walking back to the pavilion. I let you go this time.”
The bowler tells the batter: “Next time you miss the line of the ball, I will not hesitate to appeal for lbw or bowled. You get a ‘life’ this time”.
Similarly, a fielder can be seen warning the batter “not to play the ball in the air.” ‘I’ll catch the ball next time you play a false shot.”
You may be wondering “what’s all this”? This is not how the “gentleman game” is played!
True. But if one were to agree with former English bowler Dominic Cork’s comments after Indian bowler Deepti Sharma “ran out” England’s non-striker Charlie Dean for backing up too far in the Lord’s ODI on Saturday, such a scenario can be expected in the future!
Dominic Cork, speaking at the end of the match, said: “It was against the spirit of the game although it may be within the rules of the game. The bowler should have warned the non-striker before doing what she did to dismiss Dean.”
The former English cricketer, probably, couldn’t digest the fact that the English women were outplayed in the ODI series.
While running in to bowl the fourth ball of her eighth over (team’s 44th), Deepti Sharma noticed Charlie Dean backing up too far at the non-strikers’ end and ran her out to claim the final wicket at Lord’s and give India a thrilling 16-run win, ensuring a 3-0 series win over England in the IDI series.
Although Dean’s dismissal was within the rules of the game (changed recently), former England skipper Nasser Hussain, who was doing TV commentary at that time, called it “a controversial dismissal.”
The English commentator refused to acknowledge that the “run out” is part of the game. In fact, one should appreciate the fact that the Indian bowler was aware of the rule and acted accordingly.
The ICC recently made some changes to this rule. The new Playing Conditions list the act of a bowler attempting a run out at the non-striker’s end under the ‘Run Out’ section (Law 38). Previously, this was listed under ‘Unfair Play’ (Law 41).
Therefore, Deepti was within the rules when she ran out Charlie Dean on Saturday.
This is not the first time such a ‘run out’ dismissal has created a controversy. R. Ashwin had run Jos Buttler out in a similar fashion in the middle of his bowling stride during the 2019 edition of the IPL. It had raised a similar controversy at that time also.
The dismissal was famously dubbed a “Mankad” named after India bowler who ran out Australia batsman Bill Brown in the 1948 Sydney Test and has ignited debate every time it has been used since then.
The spirit of the game finally triumphed. After an initial show of anger, throwing her bat to the ground and shaking her head with tears streaming down her face, Charlier Dean composed herself and walked over to the Indian team huddle to shake their hands.
That spirit showed that cricket remains a “gentleman game” despite all the controversies.
The writer is a veteran sports journalist who worked with The Indian Express for close to three decades