Cricket lawmaking body MCC, on Wednesday, changed their stance on the controversial dismissal of Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler at the hands of Ravichandran Ashwin in an IPL match. After the incident on Monday, the body released a statement defending the “Mankad” rule in cricket, which allows a bowler to dislodge the bails and get a dismissal, in case the non-striker is out of the crease. “This law is essential. Without it, non-strikers could back up at liberty, several yards down the pitch and a law is needed to prevent such action,” the MCC statement read.
But on Wednesday, MCC’s manager of the Laws Fraser Stewart said that Ashwin’s actions appear to not be within the ‘spirit of the game’ upon further reflection of the incident.
“Having extensively reviewed the incident again and after further reflection, we don’t think it was within the spirit of the game,” Steward told Telegraph.
“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. When Buttler could have reasonably expected the ball to be delivered, he was in his ground,” he further explained.
“It is also unfair, and against the Spirit of Cricket, for non-strikers to leave their ground too early. All these debates wouldn’t be necessary if non-strikers remained in their ground until the ball is on its way down the pitch,” Stewart said.
Steward added that Buttler did not try to return to the crease when Ashwin delayed his delivery. “Buttler, it is 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,” he said.
On being questioned why the body is changing its original stance, Stewart insisted that they did not take any side in the original statement. “We didn’t come down either way (in the original statement). We now think at the key moment Buttler was in his ground,” he said.
The MCC official further added that players need to understand the importance of the spirit of the game. “Ultimately the game is for the players and they’ve got a responsibility to work out how they want to play it and set an example to grassroots cricketers as role models, by upholding standards to preserve the game and particularly the Spirit of Cricket – for future generations. The Spirit of Cricket (the preamble to the Laws) is as relevant now as it has ever been. It is important that cricket is played in accordance with the Spirit of the game as well as within the Laws,” he said.