Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler believes it was “probably the wrong decision” to give him run out in their first game of the IPL 2019 season against Kings XI Punjab. The controversial ‘Mankading’ dismissal saw differing opinions from various cricketers and pundits alike. But he feels the current wording of the Laws governing run-outs at the non-striker’s end is in the grey area and requires further clarification.
Buttler was run-out backing-up by KXIP skipper R Ashwin at a crucial moment of a match that Rajasthan went on to lose. He accepts that there has to be a place for such dismissals in the game, but feels the dismissal set “a bad precedent at the start of the tournament”.
“Of course a Mankading has to be in the Laws of the game because a batsman can’t just run halfway down the pitch trying to get a headstart,” he said in an interview to ESPNcricinfo. “But I do think, the way the law is written, there is a bit of a grey area in that saying ‘when a bowler is expected to release the ball’. That is a bit of a wishy-washy statement.”
The Law in question says, “If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be run out.”
In Buttler’s case, the phrase “expected release” played a crucial factor of debate. Ashwin approached the crease in normal fashion, but at no stage raised his arm to deliver the ball and seemed to pause while Buttler stepped out of the crease before dislodging the bails. Cricket’s law making body MCC “felt the pause was just too long and therefore not within the spirit of cricket.”
“If you look at the footage, probably the wrong decision was made because at the time he was expected to release the ball I was in my crease,” Buttler said.
“At the time I was really disappointed with it. I didn’t like the style of it. I just thought it was a bad precedent at the start of the tournament. For the tournament itself. It was a really disappointing way to start the tournament.
“So, I didn’t like what happened and I didn’t agree with it, but what can you do? After a day or so I was pretty relaxed about it and I’ll make sure it never happens again. It won’t happen again.”
The incident seemed to have a bearing on Buttler’s mind in the subsequent matches. In the last seven IPL matches, Buttler had struck six half centuries. But after the KXIP run out, he scored single run scores against SRH and CSK. He eventually struck form against Royal Challengers Bangalore with 59 runs from 43 balls.
“What was more disappointing is that suddenly, over the next two games, I found myself being really conscious of it and it is quite distracting,” he said. “It is so rare that you’re not normally thinking about it. I must be the only person to get out twice in that way.
“It distracted me for the next couple of games which is why it was nice to get some runs in the win and get back to thinking about batting and not worrying about how I back up at the non-striker’s end.”
This is not the first time Buttler has been dismissed in such a fashion. He was also given out run out ‘Mankading’ in an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2014. With the number of players walking after obvious dismissals and not wait for the umpire to give them out going down, Buttler is in the minority.
He hopes that professionals remember their responsibility as “role models to young kids.”
“I do generally walk,” he said. “That is something else where the spirit of cricket is involved. Is it in the spirit of cricket to not walk? Most people’s take is that the umpire’s there to make a decision and that is how it should be.
“I’d hope, whether it was a written thing or not, that players – as custodians of the game, role models to young kids and professional people – would carry themselves in a certain way.”