Cricket law-makers call for calm as ‘Mankad’ debate heats up

DUBAI (AFP): Cricket’s law-makers have issued a “call for calm” as controversy swirls over the legitimacy of the “Mankad” dismissal — when the non-striking batsman is run out by a bowler.

For some cricket followers the dismissal, named after India all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, has always been unsporting, even though officials have repeatedly stressed it remains legal.

In January, Australia international Adam Zampa tried to dismiss non-striker Tom Rogers in a domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League game using a Mankad.

Rogers was ultimately adjudged not out on review as Zampa’s arm had passed its highest point where he would reasonably be expected to release the ball.

India’s women sealed their one-day international series 3-0 in England last year with a Mankad.

There have been dire warnings over the use of the dismissal at amateur level, with former England batsman Mark Butcher predicting “absolute carnage”.

But the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) — which still has global responsibility for cricket’s laws — stepped in on Thursday to defuse tensions, issuing a statement on the issue.

“The WCC… (MCC’s World Cricket committee) is now calling for calm across all levels of the game, from the grassroots level of recreational cricket to the elite level, given that the act of running out a non-striker who opts to steal ground is within the laws of the game,” it said.

Committee chairman Mike Gatting, the former England captain, said the fundamental position was unchanged and that bowlers deserved protection from batters backing up too far.

“Our stance on this is simple –- batters must not steal ground if they do not wish to be given out in this manner,” he said.

“Nor should they be expecting to be given a warning if they do.”

Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara said: “The bowler is not the villain here.  Every batter has a choice; to stay in their ground, or risk being given out if they try to steal ground.”