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Senanayake’s mankading of Buttler clarified and defended by British reporters

June 4, 2014

George Dobell: Senanayake catches Buttler dozing” ….  http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-sri-lanka-2014/content/story/750041.html[/

Gough gives Butler out Umpire Gough gives Buttler out

There was little doubt what the Birmingham crowd thought to the run-out of Jos Buttler. Boos rang out around Edgbaston every time Sachithra Senanayake touched the ball following his decision to end Buttler’s innings. Already utilising an action that some in England – a conservative country in cricketing terms – believe to be dubious, Senanayake will now forever be cast in the role of villain after running out the home side’s golden boy in a rare instance of ‘Mankading’ in the international game.

Buttler, the non-striking batsman, had backed up too far. He was out of his crease. Senanayake, the bowler, had warned him in the previous over. He warned him, clearly and in sight of the umpires, that if Buttler continued to back up out of his crease, he would remove the bails and complete the run out.

After the incident, the umpires asked the Sri Lanka captain, Angelo Mathews, whether he wanted to withdraw the appeal. He confirmed that he did not and the umpires had no option. Buttler was clearly out. That left England 199 for 7 – they ended up making 219 in the deciding ODI of the series.

Such a dismissal is unusual, unpopular and creates a good deal of confusion. But it is not illegitimate and none of the umpires, Mathews or Senanayake deserve criticism. Indeed, you could argue that any other decision would have been illogical and, in an age where the game is on its guard against match-fixing, highly dubious. It might be compared to allowing a batsman a life after he had been stumped.

The confusion stems from the fact that the ICC playing conditions – effectively the rules under which international cricket takes place – differ from the Laws of the game as prescribed by the MCC. And, as a consequence, the rules that applied previously – the rules that most cricket lovers grew-up with – have also changed. The MCC (Law 42.15) states that “The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.”

But the ICC’s playing regulation 42.11, which replaces Law 42.15 in international cricket, states: “The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal dead ball as soon as possible.”

The crucial difference is that, while the MCC states the run out attempt must come before the bowler enters his delivery stride, the ICC allow it to come any time before the bowler completes his “delivery swing”.

Nor is there, within the ICC playing regulations, any requirement to warn the batsman prior to the appeal. Senanayake was not only quite within his rights, he had actually offered Buttler an unnecessary courtesy. In a game where fine margins can decide results, Senanayake’s decision to deny Buttler a few inches was simply pragmatic. He would have been a fool to do anything else.

England would be better served to look at their own faults rather than wallow in the indulgent belief that they have been wronged. It is irrelevant if Sri Lanka were reacting to news that Senanayake’s action has been reported as suspect and it is irrelevant that Buttler was ‘only’ a little out of his ground: a line has to be drawn in these matters and, when it comes to a batsman being within his ground, that line is the crease. Buttler was guilty of some dozy cricket and should learn from the experience.

It should also be remembered that England were still shy of 200 at the time. Twice they had gone seven overs in their innings without hitting a boundary. They were already coming second in this game. Senanayake’s intervention only played a minor part in their sub-par total.

Besides, Buttler should have known better. Not only was he warned but he experienced a similar incident in a county match between Surrey and Somerset in 2012 when his team-mate, Alex Barrow, was run out by Murali Kartik, who was then playing for Surrey as an overseas player.

You do wonder what Chris Adams thought, though. Adams, who was the Surrey coach at Taunton and is currently on the Sri Lanka staff as a consultant, described the incident as “regrettable” at the time.

It is also unusual. In an ODI at the Gabba in 2012, Virender Sehwag, the on-field captain for India at the time, withdrew an appeal after Ravi Ashwin ran out Lahiru Thirimane. While Sehwag’s action may warrant praise, it might also be considered weak. He later explained it by suggesting he would have been criticised for any other decision.

Cricket needs to move on from the nebulous concept of ‘gentlemanly’ play and ‘spirit.’ It has playing conditions. It has Laws. It should stick with them and avoid being dragged into the mire that will be inevitable if it applies them sparingly.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent of ESPNcricinfo *****

How MCC and ICC differ

  • The run out of Jos Buttler, backing up after previously being warned by Sachithra Senanayake, prompted much thumb of the Laws and various playing conditions. Here is how MCC and ICC make a subtle, but crucial difference in the wording of being run out in such circumstances.
  • MCC Laws
  • Law 42.15: Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery
  • The bowler is permitted, before entering his delivery stride, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.
  • ICC ODI playing conditions
  • 42.11 Law 42.12 Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery
  • Law 42.15 shall be replaced by the following
  • The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. if the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal dead ball as soon possible.

  ******

Brydon Coverdale: “What’s wrong with mankading?” …. also in ESPNcricinfo

Remember that time when Kevin Pietersen danced down the pitch to Shane Warne and was stumped, and the umpire asked Ricky Ponting to withdraw the appeal? Of course you don’t, because it didn’t happen, and the very idea of it happening is absurd. Why, then, do umpires continue to pressure fielding captains to reconsider appeals for the so-called Mankad dismissal, the act of a bowler running out a non-striker who is backing up?

How are the situations any different, really? In both cases the batsman is attempting to gain advantage, in one by reaching the pitch of the ball and negating spin, in the other by reducing the distance he must cover to complete a run. A wicketkeeper who stumps a batsman is lauded for his sharp work, yet an eagle-eyed bowler who mankads is usually condemned as unsporting.

In 2011, the ICC made it easier for bowlers to effect such a dismissal. Previously the bowler had to take the bails off before entering his delivery stride. This is still the case under the MCC’s Laws of Cricket, but the ICC adapted its playing conditions to allow the act “before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing”. It was a clear and deliberate move to keep batsmen accountable.

But umpires have undermined the regulation by victimising bowlers who are only trying to stop batsmen sneaking an advantage. Consider these two recent examples.

Last February in an ODI at the SCG, Lahiru Thirimanne continually left his crease far too early. R Ashwin warned Thirimanne and when the batsman kept doing it, Ashwin ran him out. Instead of raising his finger, the umpire, Paul Reiffel, consulted his square-leg colleague and asked India’s captain, Virender Sehwag, if he wanted to go through with the appeal.

India's Virender Sehwag (2nd-R) and Sach Sehwag’s action saves Thirimanne — Getty Images

In doing so, Reiffel implicitly suggested Ashwin’s act of removing the bail was underhanded. It told the crowd India were borderline cheats, made Thirimanne think his behaviour was okay, and placed undue pressure on Sehwag, who ended up withdrawing a legitimate appeal. Thirimanne batted on, continued to back up unfairly, scored 62 and set up a Sri Lankan victory.

Later in 2012, Surrey’s Murali Kartik mankaded Somerset’s Alex Barrow during a County Championship match. Like Ashwin, Kartik had warned the batsman, though he wasn’t compelled to do so. Still, the umpire, Peter Hartley, wasn’t happy. He asked the fielding captain, Gareth Batty, three times if he would withdraw the appeal. Rightly, Batty refused, and later Surrey were booed off the field.

Reiffel and Hartley should simply have raised a finger, as they would for any other run-out, but instead they added to the ill-feeling by suggesting the bowler was in the wrong. The ICC’s playing condition 42.11 explicitly states that a mankad is fair. An additional clause should be added to state that an umpire must not consult the fielding captain before making his decision, unless the conversation is instigated by the captain.

Certainly a mankad is no less fair than when a striker’s straight drive rockets through the bowler’s hands and hits the stumps with the non-striker out of his ground. Of course, umpires rightly treat that as they do a regulation run-out. Just as they should with the mankad.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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