Mankad law disrespectful to Indian legend, says Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar. — AFP/File
Shukriya Pakistan

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar called for the removal of of the term ‘Mankad’ as a cricket terminology as it it’s disrespectful to the Indian cricketer after whom the practice is named.

‘Mankading’ is the act, when a bowler, during his delivery stride, runs the non-striker out if he is caught outside the crease.

The term was first used in 1947 when former Indian allrounder Vinoo Mankad ran out Australia’s Bill Brown at the non-striker’s end during a Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Mankad had run out Brown at the bowler’s end twice during the tour, despite numerous warnings from the Indian that Brown had moved out of his crease when backing up.

Mankad was heavily criticised in the Australian press at the time for an act that was considered to be unsportsmanlike, although both Brown and Australia’s captain Sir Donald Bradman defended Mankad’s actions, which are within the laws of the game.

Gavaskar believed the phrase ‘Mankading’ should be abandoned and also had suggestions for a new name for the law.

“I have grave objections to that because it’s putting one of India’s cricketing legends in a bad light,” Gavaskar told Sony Max. “He has been one of India’s all-time great cricketers.

“If it … has to be referred by somebody’s name, it should be (named after) the non-striker. Who, despite being warned twice by Mr Mankad … he left (his crease). And the third time was when Mankad removed the bails and so suddenly there was an uproar created.

“I think it should be called (getting) ‘Browned’ because it was Bill Brown who was outside the crease. He was at fault, not Mr Mankad.

“Our legend’s name should not be spoiled. If you want to call it anything, just say the batsman was ‘Browned’, not ‘Mankaded’.”

Gavaskar’s comments come just a fortnight after the game’s law-makers, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), approved changes that will put more onus on the batsman to stay in his ground.

Despite being within the rules, the rare act of ‘Mankading’ by the bowler at the non-striker’s end has long been considered unsportsmanlike and generally, it’s the bowler who’s named the culprit after the act is carried out.

An incident at the Under-19 World Cup last year was widely condemned, as was Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake when he ran out England’s Jos Buttler during a match in 2014.

The MCC has taken the step to avoid controversy by extending the point at which a bowler can attempt the run out and also changing the name of the law to “put the onus on the non-striker to remain in his/her ground”.

“It is often the bowler who is criticised for attempting such a run out but it is the batsman who is attempting to gain an advantage,” the MCC said of changes to Law 41.16, which is now called ‘Non striker leaving his/her ground early’ having previously been called ‘Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery’.

“The message to the non-striker is very clear – if you do not want to risk being run out, stay within your ground until the bowler has released the ball.”