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Comment: Why is it okay to 'Mankad'? 
Mankad Law

Comment: Why is it okay to 'Mankad'? 

The flag-bearers of the spirit of cricket were seen hyperventilating again as another mankading incident in the ICC U-19 World Cup quarterfinal sparked debate over the controversial law. 

Would you consider driving through an intersection when the traffic light turns green an offence? You might answer 'No' so then why is mankading considered an offence? If despite following the laws of the game Noor Ahmed's shrewdness irked you the other day then you may need to think again on the matter.

A widespread debate followed after Afghanistan U-19 spinner Noor Ahmed dislodged the bails in his pre-delivery stride while Mohammad Huraira was at the non-striker's end during the quarterfinal of the U19 World Cup. 

Huraira was declared out by the third umpire and his innings was cut short at 64 but it didn't have an impact on the end result as Qasim Akram and Mohammad Haris chased down the below-par total in just 41.1 overs. 

Noor showed great game awareness by noticing how Huraira was itching to leave his crease and it was smart of him to play within the rules of the game and also he was well within his rights to create an out of the box wicket opportunity.

Mankading is not akin to tackling someone on the field or intercepting while a batsman is running between the wickets, it is simply a bowler playing by the book and getting the job done for their side.

Spirit of the game

After every mankad mode of dismissal, many keen followers of the game construe it as an unholy act but if that is the case then Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) members would have recommended a change in the law to the International Cricket Council (ICC) by now but until that happens, mankading is permitted by the rulebook and a bowler is not at fault for trying different ways to get his team back in the contest.

Huraira didn't have any qualms after being dismissed and acknowledged his error after the match. The onus is always on the batsman to keep his bat grounded before the ball is released and the correlation between sportsmanship and a legitimate means of removing a batsman is something to ponder and reassess. 

"I should've been in the crease, and I'll learn from the mistake. I'll ensure it isn't repeated again,” Huraira said.

In a match during Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season, India's leading off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin lit up the zingers before hoying the ball in the air and on that occasion, Jos Buttler had to leave the crease and Ashwin came under the firing line after the incident. 

Wicketkeepers are always busy in looking for opportunities to stump the batsman and nobody quibbles over it and the show goes on as usual but when a bowler tries a similar type of a dismissal, it's considered poor in taste. 

Let's take another example, batsman occasionally change their mind at the last moment and inverse their stance in a bid to reverse sweep which, if he connects well, often leads to a boundary. With this in mind, a bowler who is just about to release the ball shall be allowed to change his mind as well and permitted to quickly take off the zingers than subjected to moral scrutiny.

More food for thought: When a bowler's landing foot goes beyond the popping crease, he is reprimanded and a free hit is awarded to salt on his wounds and that often changes the complexion of a game just like when it happened in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final when Fakhar Zaman got a reprieve early on against Jasprit Bumrah and he went onto smash a match-winning hundred. 

And don't even get me started on the runs taken off a leg-bye even though the batsman fails to connect and yet they keep on running like they earned those runs fair and square and the runs count to the total. 

If mankading is taken out of the equation, then a batsman may well run halfway down the track without having any fear of getting out and that would tilt the balance of the game in the favour of a batsman because it makes sneaking a run much easier and therefore would give an unfair advantage to the batting team.

The legendary batsman Don Bradman put his weight behind mankading when the first incident surfaced in 1947. Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad had his eureka moment when he ran out Australian batsman Bill Brown. Bill was given a fair warning though by Mankad but that didn't have any effect on Bill who got out twice in a similar manner during the famous series that led to the coining of the term 'mankading'.  

Mankading law

According to the 41.16 MCC's law of cricket, "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 these circumstances, the non-striker will be out Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground when his/her wicket is put down by the bowler throwing the ball at the stumps or by the bowler’s hand holding the ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered."

"If the ball is not delivered and there is an appeal, the umpire shall make his/her decision on the Runout. If it is not out, he/she shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible. the ball shall not count as one in the over."

"If the ball is delivered and there is an appeal, the umpire shall make his/her decision on the Runout. if the non-striker is not dismissed, the ball remains in play and Law 21.6 (Bowler breaking wicket in delivering ball) shall apply. if the non-striker is dismissed, the ball shall not count as one in the over."