During the 2019 Indian Premier League season Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler through a type of run-out which has come to be known as “Mankading”. Like previous episodes of mankading, Buttler’s dismissal caused an uproar in the cricketing world and left opinions divided on the issue.
Mankading, put simply happens when the batsman and the non-striker’s end leaves the crease before the bowler has released the ball and the bowler rather than delivering the ball dismantles the bails to cause a run out. Mankading is within the laws of the game. Law 41.16 of the laws of cricket states: “If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out.”
Whilst it is a legal method of dismissing a batsman, it has traditionally been regarded as not within the spirit of the game. Ashwin;s dismissal of Buttler drew some strong criticism from both present and former cricketers. Eoin Morgan described it as a terrible example for young kids whilst Shane Warne also expressed disappointment and slammed it as a disgraceful act. However, the Marylebone Cricket Club as the custodians of the Laws of Cricket stated in the immediate aftermath of the game that the law was essential and clarified that without the law non-striker’s could back up at liberty to gain an unfair advantage. The clear insinuation was that Buttler had no one to blame but himself in leaving the crease too early. Later the MCC performed a U-turn by stating that Buttler should not have been given out as the pause was too long between the time Ashwin reached the crease and the movement it was reasonable to expect the ball to be delivered when Buttler could have reasonably expected the ball to be delivered he was in his ground.
This incident renewed interest in the origins of the term mankading taking its name from the Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, who during India’s tour of Australia in 1947 twice ran out Australian batsman Bill Brown. This drew criticism from the Australian press which coined the term “Mankading” for it. The fact that Bill Brown had been warned more than once by Mankad and still continued to transgress was overlooked. Vinoo Mankad is considered as one of India’s greatest all-rounders and retains a special place in the record books. He became the first Indian cricketer to reach 1000 runs and 100 wickets in test match cricket taking just 23 matches to achieve this milestone. He also displayed a stellar performance in a Lord’s test match in 1952 which has come to be known as Mankad’s test. In that match Mankad made 72 and 184 with the bat and he also picked up 5 wickets. He became one of a select few non-english players to feature on both batting and bowling honours boards at Lord’s. It is unfortunate that Mankad is mostly remembered today not because of his cricketing exploits but because his name has become synonymous with one of the most polarizing methods of dismissal in world cricket.