Cricket’s most infamous debate has opened a massive can of worms as England and India go to war over the Mankad.
India wrapped up a 3-0 series whitewash with a 16-run win in the third and final ODI on Saturday, when Deepti Sharma ran England’s Charlie Dean out at the nonstriker’s end, an act colloquially known as a “Mankad”.
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Dean, who was on 47 at the time, wandered out of the crease while Sharma was in her delivery stride, and the Indian all-rounder quickly spun around and dislodged the bails.
The fans in the stands were left in disbelief by the scenes as the Mankad had long been a controversial form of dismissal.
The term “Mankading” was coined 70 years ago when Indian great Vinoo Mankad twice ran out Bill Brown at the bowler’s end during India’s tour of Australia in 1947.
Although rare, every time it comes up, it proves a divisive topic, and it’s bound to resurface much more often in the future now it’s been enshrined in cricket’s laws.
In March, Marylebone Cricket Club, the sport’s custodians and lawmakers, removed running out the nonstriker from the “Unfair Play” section of the Laws, making it a legitimate form of dismissal.
The International Cricket Council endorsed the decision last week.
But the drama hasn’t gone away as England skipper Heather Knight accused India of “lying” after the visitors claimed they had warned Dean before dismissing her.
After arriving back in Indai, Sharma said she and her team had done nothing wrong.
“That was our plan because she was repeatedly doing it and we had warned them too,” she told reporters.
“We had also informed the umpires. But still she was right there so there wasn’t much we could do. We did everything according to the rules and guidelines.”
Indian cricketers and pundits were supporting of Sharma’s position.
Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur saying: “I don’t think it was any crime.”
But Knight, who missed the series after undergoing recent hip surgery hit back via social media, admitting it was a legitimate dismissal but accused India of “lying”.
“The game is over, Charlie was dismissed legitimately. India were deserved winners of the match and the series,” Knight began. “But no warnings were given. They don’t need to be given, so it hasn’t made the dismissal any less legitimate …
“But if they’re comfortable with the decision to affect the run out, India shouldn’t feel the need to justify it by lying about warnings.”
Dean clearly didn’t believe she had been given any warnings, bursting into tears after the result.
However, she clearly moved on quickly, making a joke the following day for the South Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Lord’s, when she mocked a Mankad of her own before laughing it off.
The debate has raged in cricket circles however, forcing the MCC to reiterate the dismissal was within the rules of the game.
“MCC’s message to nonstrikers continues to be to remain in their ground until they have seen the ball leave the bowler’s hand. Then dismissals, such as the one seen yesterday, cannot happen,” it said in a statement.
“Whilst yesterday was indeed an unusual end to an exciting match, it was properly officiated and should not be considered as anything more.”
The cricket world has been left divided on the issue, which has long been considered against the spirit of the sport.
“You surely don’t train all your lives to win a game using that tactic … and I know batters should train to stay behind the line but it stinks seeing a game won like that,” former England men’s captain Michael Vaughan tweeted.
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, whose Mankad run-out of England’s Jos Buttler in an Indian Premier League match in 2019 was widely criticised, also joined the debate on social media.
“How about awarding that wicket to the bowler for ‘presence of mind’ under immense pressure and of course knowing the social stigma that he/she would have to deal with post doing it,” he wrote on Twitter. “How about a bravery award to go with it too
England batter Alex Hales added: “It shouldn’t be difficult for the non striker to stay in their crease til the ball has left the hand …”