Cricket clubs in England are reportedly discussing whether to ban the controversial “Mankad” dismissal, hoping to prevent ugly on-field confrontations this upcoming summer.
After the Marylebone Cricket Club amended the Laws of Cricket last year, running out the non-striker during a bowler’s delivery stride has become an accepted practice among professional teams.
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Last year, Deepti Sharma helped India secure a series whitewash over England after running out Charlie Dean at the non-striker’s end during the third ODI at Lord’s.
Melbourne Stars captain Adam Zampa attempted the dismissal during a Big Bash League match against cross-town rivals the Melbourne Renegades earlier this month, while Pakistan teenager Zaib-un-Nisa went viral after running out Rwanda’s Shakila Niyomuhoza in a Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup fixture last week.
Meanwhile, Australian Test captain Pat Cummins has permitted his teammates to run out batters at the non-striker’s end if they warn the culprit beforehand.
But although professional teams are adopting the practice, thousands within the wider cricket community still disagree on whether “Mankad” run outs, colloquially named after Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad, are appropriate conduct.
There are growing fears in England that disputes over the dismissal could lead to confrontations at amateur level, where there are already issues with on-field discipline. Many cricket matches at recreational level are not officiated by qualified umpires, and recent clarifications to the laws could further confuse untrained officials.
“What is not being talked about is the effect that this is likely to have on village greens on Sunday afternoons up and down the country if this starts to become the norm,” former England batter Mark Butcher told the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast last week.
“And you can argue until you’re blue in the face that it’s in the Laws and you’re within your rights to do so … but it’s the idea that you’re absolutely within your rights to sleep with your best mate’s ex-wife minutes after they’ve split up, but don’t complain if you get punched in the face for it.
“I can just see absolute carnage happening up and down this land and many others if people start doing it as a matter of course in club games.
“Because there’s very little regulation in terms of people’s behaviour there and the game as it is played and has been played for years and years with guys umpiring their own players and that type of thing.
“The game has always been played on the basis that there will be a bit of good sportsmanship. Otherwise, we will not be sharing jugs in the bar, type thing. And if this starts happening up and down the land there will be blood – I’m telling you that now.”
As reported by The Telegraph, some leagues are discussing whether to ban the dismissal altogether, which would subsequently enable batters to steal ground without the fear of being run out and potentially create further mayhem.
“I’m not really sure how we expect umpires to be able to monitor if the bowler has gone past a release point. The further down the structure we go the more wild west it becomes and the concern is that something like a Mankad can split opinion,” Simon Prodger, managing director of the National Cricket Conference, told the English publication.
“Umpires might wish to interpret things according to the spirit of the game but feel pressurised into making a decision that might cause aggravation because laws say Mankad is a legal form of dismissal.”
Earlier this summer, footage circulated on social media of a cricketer attempting the controversial dismissal during a Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association match, with St Bernards Old Collegians paceman Kyle Adams whipping of the bails and appealing for a run out at the non-striker’s end. Punches thankfully weren’t thrown, but the wicket prompted a heated argument on the boundary.
Marylebone Cricket Club, the sport’s custodians and lawmakers, sent a clear message to batters around the world last year.
“MCC’s message to non-strikers continues to be to remain in their ground until they have seen the ball leave the bowler’s hand,” the statement read.