Updated: March 12, 2022 10:29:39 am
By finally moving the dismissal of “Mankading” (where a bowler, in his delivery stride, runs out the non-striker who is out of his crease), out of “unfair play” (Law 41) to “run out” (Law 38), the custodians of cricket’s laws have put the onus of the morality — and spirit — of the game on the batsmen. The crime has been placed at the feet of the perpetrator, and a left-over remnant from Victorian notions of class where the batsmen were considered gentlemen (and hence laws supported the theory of “batsman’s game”) and the bowlers the working class has finally been laid to rest.
It’s fascinating that people who viciously abuse on field, those who tamper with the ball, take drugs, who don’t walk after edging, who claim bumped-balls as catches, have united against the law. Perhaps, their angst stems from the fact that this act of running out the non-striker preempts everything else — a ball hasn’t been bowled, the batsmen haven’t gotten into the act, and some feel “cheated” by the non-consummation of the cricketing act.
On the other side, there have been players like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar who are relieved that the ugly stain has been erased from the Indian legend Vinoo Mankad. Instead of being credited for his quick thinking, the run out came to be known as “Mankading” with the taint of unfairness. Gavaskar had wanted it to be called “Browning”, in the name of the Australian batsman Bill Brown who was thus run out by Mankad. That perhaps might never happen but the amendment to the law makes it a tribute, not a condemnation, of Mankad.
This editorial first appeared in the print edition on March 12, 2022 under the title ‘Batsman’s crime’.
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