ASHWIN’s MANKADs out BUTTLER!! Is the spirit of the game at stake?

“You are not in the crease and you’ve been upsetting my rhythm,” an animated Ashwin said in the heat of the moment and MANKADS outs Buttler.
So, Ashwin have run Buttler out? Should Buttler have been more vigilant? Was Buttler robbed? Was Ashwin clever and Buttler defeated? Did Ashwin violate the spirit of the game? Ah, the spirit of the game! It is something so dear to cricket lovers that there is actually a preamble to the laws of cricket that specifically addresses this. It talks about respect, towards teammates and opponents and the umpires; it talks about playing hard and fair and accepting the umpire’s decision, about creating a positive atmosphere through each player’s conduct. And more on those lines.
But can the spirit of the game be at variance with the laws of the game? Since both are drafted by the same entity, you would assume that playing within the laws of the game would assume you are playing in the spirit of the game. So when Ashwin ran Buttler out, was he within the laws of the game? And within its spirit?
And so the revised Law 41.16 says that the non-striker must stay within the crease till such time as the bowler is expected to deliver the ball. This is where a lot of the debate has centred. Ashwin says he hadn’t loaded up in his action, others say he had crossed the point when he would be expected to release the ball and that, at that point, Buttler was still within the crease. Maybe anticipating that, the law-makers also said that ‘If you do not want to risk being run-out, stay within your ground until the bowler has released the ball”.
Now, we can interpret the law and the line that follows it all we want. The critical thing here is that the umpire who is the caretaker of the law, ruled in the bowler’s favour after looking at television footage. So we can say that Buttler was legally out.
We routinely find loopholes in tax laws to ensure we pay less tax even though we know that the taxes we pay go towards educating the poor and affording them healthcare for example. Is that the spirit we want to live by? Or do we say living within the law of the land is respectable enough?
And so, I have no idea of what the spirit of the game is about because it varies from person to person. Just as the expression “we play hard but fair” does. That is why the law must always take precedence over everything else. By the laws of the game as interpreted by a senior umpire, who is in essence a judge, Buttler was out. That is where I believe this debate must end. The spirit of the game is too subjective, too difficult to define.
And yes, I think the law should be amended to say, specifically, that a non-striker cannot leave the crease till the ball has left the bowler’s hand.- Harsha bhogle


Jos Buttler opens up: If you look at the footage, probably the wrong decision was made because at the time he was expected to release the ball I was in my crease.
“At the time I was really disappointed with it. I didn’t like the style of it. I just thought it was a bad precedent at the start of the tournament. For the tournament itself. It was a really disappointing way to start the tournament.
“So, I didn’t like what happened and I didn’t agree with it, but what can you do? After a day or so I was pretty relaxed about it and I’ll make sure it never happens again. It won’t happen again,” Jos Buttler, who was also Mankaded in an ODI vs Sri Lanka in 2014.
“What was more disappointing is that suddenly, over the next two games, I found myself being really conscious of it and it is quite distracting. It is so rare that you’re not normally thinking about it. I must be the only person to get out twice in that way.
“It distracted me for the next couple of games which is why it was nice to get some runs in the win and get back to thinking about batting and not worrying about how I back up at the non-striker’s end.” Buttler is of the opinion that the Mankading law should remain in the rule books of the MCC even though the law has quite a few loopholes in it.
“Of course a Mankading has to be in the Laws of the game because a batsman can’t just run halfway down the pitch trying to get a headstart. But I do think, the way the law is written, there is a bit of a grey area in that saying ‘when a bowler is expected to release the ball’. That is a bit of a wishy-washy statement,” Buttler said.



Ravichandran Ashwin replies by saying his “conscience is clear” and he cannot be branded a villain for ‘Mankading’ Jos Buttler. Ashwin sparked outrage in the cricket fraternity when he whipped off the bails without warning Buttler during match no. 4 of an IPL encounter between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
Ashwin defended his actions after his side went on to claim a controversial win and maintains he has done nothing wrong. “There is nothing to defend,” Ashwin told Aaj Tak TV. “As I said in the press conference that day, it happened instinctively, it was not a plan that ‘Buttler will go outside [the crease] and I have to get him’. Although he did do it four or five times.
“They didn’t want to take risks against my bowling that day, so what they were doing was pushing the ball on the legside and trying to take twos.
“I saw that he’d done it four or five times, and it’s there in the rules that if the batsman goes out of his crease, you can run him out. It’s the batsman’s responsibility to stay behind the crease. “The most important thing for me is what is my conscience saying, and my conscience is clear. Those who know me well know that I will never do something illegal. You can’t say that ‘Ashwin is a villain because of this’. Because this is not my character trait. “You don’t tell someone who has hit a bowler for 30 runs in an over that he is not a good person. He will hit the bowler, that’s part of the game. And whatever rule is there in the game, I took advantage of that. I’m not denying I did that, but that’s the rule. “If someone doesn’t like it, and you think it doesn’t fit into sportsmanship in cricket, then change the rule.”
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