Feature Cricket

Call A Spade a Spade…

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 27 March, 2019, 4:00 PM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

For the better part of the last twenty four hours, the cricket world has been abuzz about the Kings XI Punjab captain’s decision to run out the batsman from the Rajasthan Royals through a tricky dismissal known as ‘Mankad’ing. However, one wonders how it is easy to call it a violation of the spirit of the game issue when the rules of the game are quite explicit.

Quite a stir has been created over an issue that has been quite clear as per the laws of the game. Jos Buttler, himself a repeat offender of walking out of his crease at the non-striker’s end, is once again making a hue and cry about an issue that he himself stated he was in the wrong in the past. He stated it himself in 2016, two years after he claimed indignation at being mankaded by Sri Lanka, calling it ‘a batsman error’. Along with the England wicketkeeper-batsman, much of the cricket world that is up in arms appears to have forgotten that there is a place for the spirit of the game and also, one for adhering to the laws.

Ravichandran Ashwin was well within his right to spot the non-striker out of his crease in the course of his run up and dismiss him in the fashion he did. Those that claim that Ashwin had no intention of bowling the ball – when a bowler will stop in his tracks in order to effect the removing of the bails, must, also, look at the batsman’s behavior before making such a judgement. For the Kings XI Punjab bowler and captain to be vilified in such fashion seems out of place when the cricket law clears states that the bowler is well within his rights.

Furthermore, nowhere does it state that the bowler must warn the batsman although there have been past instances. For Jos Buttler and for those who are calling foul from a high moral ground must remember they are living in glass houses themselves and that Buttler, from his own experience, should have known better, not only knowing the laws as a batsman but also, as a wicketkeeper and furthermore, of having faced such an ignominy himself in the recent past.

It would have been equally telling on Ashwin had he merely warned the batsman and let him off while his team was struggling to pull back the match. It is quite plausible that the same people making the argument for Buttler today would have criticized Ashwin for being ‘soft’ when the game demanded action to make something happen for the team.

Just because a batsman is in good form does not mean that the bowler has unfairly deprived the cricket world of fireworks. Ashwin did what any bowler should do in a world skewed in favour of the batsman. After all, is it not school boy training for a batsman to always remember to have his bat behind the crease? The law book says so. Where is the spirit of the game if not in upholding the law?

If this brings shame upon Ashwin, perhaps those that are deeming it so should look at their own actions as well as the ones perpetrated that have far demonized the game and the men who make up the sport, particularly when it comes from the Rajasthan Royals whose players were caught spot fixing, who are batting for Steve Smith who failed to uphold the high echelons of captaincy despite being one of the world’s best batsmen at the time of sandpaper-gate and have Shane Warne who did not think about standards when dealing with bookies or the many shenanigans that eventually cost him the Australian captaincy.

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News Cricket

Jofra Archer names the best T20 bowler in the world

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 4:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rajasthan Royals bowler, Jofra Archer is counted among the upcoming stars of the game. He has already made a name for himself with his inspiring displays in the shortest format of the game. The lanky pacer shot to fame with his exploits in Australia's Big Bash League and from there onwards, he has not looked back.

The Barbados born speedster has 105 scalps in 82 T20s. He recently revealed that he considers India's Jasprit Bumrah as the best T20 bowler and also explained why.

“I am going to say that I quite like Bumrah. I would include a spinner in the list and that is Rashid Khan. So it’s myself, Bumrah and Rashid, who are three best bowlers in T20 cricket,” Archer, playing for Rajasthan Royals in the ongoing IPL, told PTI during an interview.

“With the new ball, it can go either way, so for all the fast bowlers, it is essential that you have an extra edge at the death,” said Archer.

“Even with Bumrah's action, he bowls yorkers really well. And the key to possessing a potent slower delivery in case of Bumrah is his action. His hands go on all directions and suddenly you will find it really hard to pick up the slower one,” explained Archer.

Feature Cricket

MCC statement clarifies legality of Buttler's dismissal

Partab Ramchand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 4:06 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Not unexpectedly the storm over Ravi Ashwin’s dismissal of Jos Buttler on Monday is not abating. The pros and cons, those for and against either the bowler or the batsmen have all aired their views and opinion is divided.

But the most important reaction has come from MCC the guardians of the laws of cricket who have defended the controversial circumstances of Buttler’s dismissal stating that it is not against the Spirit of Cricket for a bowler to run out a batsman at the non-striker’s end. However MCC stated that the legality of the dismissal came down to the umpire’s interpretation of the law given that Butler had not been seeking to gain an advantage in the moments before Ashwin chose to abort his delivery stride and attempt the dismissal.

The relevant part of Law 41.16 states: ``If the non-striker is out of his ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him out.’’

MCC however acknowledged the ambiguity of the current wording of the law pertaining to the non-striker leaving his ground early. Given that the ICC’s interpretation of the law clarifies that the ``expected moment of release’’ comes when ``the arm reaches its highest point’’ in a bowler’s delivery stride MCC concluded that it was understandable how Bruce Oxenford the TV umpire had seen it fit to give Butler out.

Most importantly the MCC in its statement clarified that it has never been in the laws that a warning should be given to the non-striker and nor is it against the Spirit of Cricket to run out a non-striker who is seeking to gain an advantage by leaving his ground early. ``Furthermore with batsmen now being deemed in or out by millimeters by TV replays on quick singles it is right that they should remain in their ground at the non-strikers end until it is fair for them to leave.’’

That puts to rest all talk that a bowler should warn the batsman before running him out. In short, in future if the non-striker does not want to be ``Mankaded’’ he should stay within the crease till the ball is delivered.

News Cricket

“I was hated nationally, and it was not easy": KL Rahul opens up on Koffee with Karan controversy

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 3:54 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Koffee with Karan controversy made KL Rahul doubt himself as a person. Being a cricketer is never easy as it brings intense scrutiny over your life. Rahul experienced the worst side of being a public figure after he partnered Hardik Pandya in the Karan Johar hosted TV talk show, where Pandya made sexist comments on women. Although Rahul didn't say anything wrong about girls, but he was also brutally targeted on social media.

Rahul opened up on how traumatic it was to deal with after effects of Koffee with Karan episode, the backlash of which, created ripples.

“The last two months have been very, very tough for me. When it happened, I had started to doubt myself as a person,” Rahul told India Today on Wednesday.

“I was hated nationally, and it was not easy. I always thought I was a good person and then I started to believe otherwise. I couldn’t come out of home for I was not ready. Only played play station and all. I have become calmer and more mature as a result. It has taught me a lot and maybe, I have emerged stronger also,” he said.

News Cricket

I don't want to be R Ashwin, says Kevin Pietersen

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 2:58 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Ravichandran Ashwin has been slammed by a plethora of England cricketers in aftermath of the mankading controversy that erupted during a game between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab at Jaipur. Punjab skipper, Ashwin had mankaded Jos Buttler, who was in red-hot form and looked set to lead his team to a win. Buttler has been in great touch for his franchise. And against Punjab he started off from where he had left in the 2018 IPL.

Former English cricketer, Kevin Pietersen said Ashwin will be talked about for a long time for his controversial act. "I don't see many talking favourably about what happened, leaving it up to him and leaving it up to the individual. He (Ashiwn) is always going to be liable with it now because it is such a big topic and it is going to be talked about for a long time," Pietersen said on the Star Sports Select Dugout show.

The former England batsman, further added, "I'll put it this way, I don't want to be that player, that was talked about in that circumstances," said the 38-year-old Pietersen.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni or Rishabh Pant for India's World Cup squad? Rahul Dravid answers

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 2:36 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

With the World Cup around the corner, there are a lot of debates on who should be in the Indian team and who shouldn't be. With waning powers of MS Dhoni, he is often targeted by a group of fans, who consider Dhoni as a liability on the team. But, there is a vast section, which feels that Dhoni is still invaluable to the team with his experience and strategic powers. The veteran cricketer has done well this year with the bat as well.

Rahul Dravid expressed his opinion recently when he was asked to pick on between Dhoni and Pant for the WC team.

“As a coach of the India U-19 team, I should not be commenting on who should be included. Everyone is same for me. All I will say is that Dhoni has incredible experience and he has been playing very well in the past few months. Rishabh is definitely an exciting young player and he has got the talent,” Dravid told TOI.

“If the selectors feel, two wicketkeepers can play. The best 15 should be in the team,” the legendary Indian cricketer further added.

There are also a lot of question marks over the no.4 spot. India tried Rayudu, Rahul, and Pant at the crucial spot, which shows they are yet to finalize anyone for the World Cup.

Dravid refused to state his preference for the no.4 spot player.

“Like I said, I cannot be commenting on that. I am coaching 10 boys and all of them are fighting for a place in that squad. I cannot publicly pick one particular player,” said Dravid.

News Cricket

Rahul Dravid defends R Ashwin

Harshit Anand Updated: 27 March, 2019, 12:07 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Legendary Indian cricketer, Rahul Dravid has come out in support of Ravichandran Ashwin in wake of the mankading controversy. Big names like Shane Warne, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and host lot of cricketer have criticized R Ashwin. Many believe that it might be right under the laws of the game but is not morally correct. However, Rahul Dravid's taken on the whole fiasco is refreshing.

“I think some of the reactions were overblown. Questioning Ashwin’s character because he did that is totally wrong. He has every right to his view. You might not agree with it, but it was well within his rights to do it and that does not make him a bad person,” Dravid told the Times of India.

“I don’t have a problem with someone deciding to do it. Ashwin was well within his rights to do what he did. However, personally, I would prefer it if somebody warns someone first. That would be my personal choice, but I respect someone’s view to think differently. I might not agree with it necessarily, but I would just have to agree to disagree whether someone should run someone out without warning him,” he explained.

News Cricket

It’s unfortunate that my father’s name has been tainted: Vinoo Mankad’s son

Staff Writer Updated: 27 March, 2019, 11:04 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The mankading law has been back in focus ever since Ashwin mankaded Buttler during one of the IPL games. Many people consider the law to be against the "spirit of cricket." This law has been named after Indian cricketer, Vinoo Mankad, who was one of the earlier cricketers to use this way of effecting a run-out.

“I have spoken to many greats, including Sunil Gavaskar, the Chappells (Greg and Ian) and Michael Holding and they have no issue with this form of dismissal. But this doesn’t die as a controversy, it’s unfortunate that my father’s name is tainted because of this,” the 63-year-old Rahul, one of the three sons (Ashok and Atul were others), told Mumbai Mirror.

“The mode of dismissal is within the laws of cricket. It was not as if my father did it the first time, or it hasn’t been done subsequently. I think it was Australian journalists who had coined the phrase (way back in the 40s). The ICC has already ruled that the mode of dismissal should be called run out. I think it’s appropriate,” Rahul explained.

News Cricket

Mankad decision in IPL divides cricket fans around world

AP Updated: 27 March, 2019, 9:20 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

There are contentious issues in cricket that, it seems, just aren't cricket.

Take for instance one particular run out, within the laws of the game but against some people's concept of the spirit of cricket, in the Indian Premier League that has divided fans, former players and experts across the world.

It's called a Mankad, named after the first player to do it in an international match in 1947. Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravi Ashwin ran into bowl but didn't release the ball, instead taking off the bails at the non-striker's end of the pitch while Rajasthan Royals batter Jos Buttler was out of his crease.

The Indian Premier League posted the full video online under the questions: Within the rules of the game? Fair play? Would you have done it?

In the video, there's some lively discussion between Ashwin and the English batsman Buttler on the field while the decision was referred to the TV umpire.

Respected international cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle said it was within the laws of the game for the bowler to run out a batter backing up at the non-striker's end, and there was no need for the bowler to warn the batter.

Bhogle was commentating on the game for TV. His co-commentator described Ashwin's run out as a "terrible, terrible gesture."

"Lots of drama on the Buttler run-out," Bhogle later posted on Twitter. "He was livid but the law and the advisory on it is clear. The bowler is within his right to run a player out at the non-striker's end if he is out of his crease."

It sparked immediate debate among other former cricketers. Some, such as ex-Australia legspinner Shane Warne, describing it as "disgraceful and embarrassing," while others could see no problem with the decision.

"As captain of your side you set the standard of the way the team wants to play and what the team stands for!" Warne posted on Twitter, adding that Ashwin would be remembered for it."

Under the old more-or-less unwritten rules, a bowler was supposed to warn a batter at the non-striker's end the first time a Mankad run out was an option in cases where the runner was leaving the crease too early.

The International Cricket Council codified the rule to reflect the bowler didn't need to warn a batter, so long as the bowler abided by certain conditions.

What is still debatable is whether a bowler can lure the non-striker into leaving the crease early by faking a bowl.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, regarded as the guardian of the laws of the game, sided with Ashwin when it released a statement about the incident on Tuesday.

"It has never been in the laws that a warning should be given to the non-striker," the Lord's-based MCC said, "and nor is it against the spirit of cricket to run out a non-striker who is seeking to gain an advantage by leaving his/her ground early.

"Furthermore, with batsmen now being deemed in or out by millimetres by TV replays on quick singles, it is right that they should remain in their ground at the non-striker's end until it is fair for them to leave."

Ashwin's team won, and he said in a later interview that it wasn't a predetermined idea to run out Buttler.

"Look, it was very instinctive on my part. It was not planned or anything like that," Ashwin said. "It's there within the rules of the game. I don't know where the understanding of spirit of the game comes because quite naturally, if it's there in the rules, it's there."

In an International Cricket Council poll on Twitter, 72 percent of the 31,417 voters said they didn't believe Ashwin did the right thing.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan posted the question to those supporting Ashwin's move , if it had been India star Virat Kohli batting would they think it was a good idea?

"I would say to all India ex-players/Pundits who are supportive of what R Ashwin did ... If @imVkohli was batting would you be so supportive !!???"

Rajasthan Royals head coach Paddy Upton said in a post-match TV interview Ashwin's "actions tonight speak for him and represent him."

"When I looked in the eyes of his teammates, I'm not sure if it represented his teammates," Upton said. "I think we'll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that's the kind of thing they want to see. We'll leave it up to the cricket world to judge Ashwin's actions tonight.

"We're here to play cricket and entertain the fans and be good role models for people who love the game."

News Cricket

I was under the shadow of de Villiers and Virat at RCB, at KXIP I am the number one – KL Rahul

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 11:14 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

KL Rahul couldn't do much in the opening game of the IPL season against Rajasthan Royals. He was dismissed cheaply by Dhawal Kulkarni. Meanwhile, the right hand batsman had a mind-blowing 2018, where he scored more than 600 runs in the cash rich league. Prior to Kings XI Punjab, he was part of Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he was overshadowed by Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.

After he missed the 2017 season due to a shoulder injury, RCB decided against retaining him in the next year. He was bought by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping Rs 11 crore.

Rahul has stated that he is more settled at Kings XI Punjab since he is no longer under the shadow of AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.

"2018 was magical for me as far as IPL is concerned. With a really good and balanced team, this year also should be good. At RCB I was under the shadow of Virat and AB de Villiers and here I am the number one and that has helped.

"Chris Gayle is just an incredible entertainer. I told him at 37 he has rediscovered form. He said he is nearing 40! At 40 he can play like this is unreal. I am going to be far more disciplined this IPL with the World Cup in mind," KL Rahul told India Today in an exclusive interview.

He is still not sure of his place in the World Cup squad. "Selection is not in my hands but I will do all to give myself the best chance. Last two months have been very tough for me," said Rahul.

News Cricket

Danielle Wyatt reacts on R Ashwin mankading Jos Buttler, calls it embarrassing

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 10:50 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

R Ashwin led his side to win in their first game of the season against Rajasthan Royals. Despite being on the winning side, he is under the pump for mankading Jos Buttler when the game was looking in favor of the home team following English's batsman blistering knock.

However, his controversial dismissal changed the course of the match and Royals lost the game by 14 runs. During the 13th over of the second innings, Buttler moved out of the crease even before Ashwin had bowled. The off-spinner removed the bails and appealed to the umpire, which was referred to the third umpire. He declared Buttler out.

In the post-match conference, Ashwin clarified his actions. However, England’s women’s cricket team, opener Danielle Wyatt, has blasted the Indian spinner for his act. “Embarrassing!! He was still in the crease when he would have let go of the ball,” Wyatt wrote in her tweet.

News Cricket

BCCI officials come down hard on Ashwin, say mankading is like back-stabbing

Staff Writer Updated: 26 March, 2019, 6:37 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

R Ashwin is facing criticism after he ran-out Jos Buttler controversially in Jaipur on Monday. Although, he has backed his decision and has no regret, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Ajinkya Rahane, head coach Paddy Upton and brand ambassador Shane Warne have registered their disappointment.

Even the officials of the governing body of Indian cricket have stated that Ashwin should have used cricketing skills and not shady skills to dismiss the opposite number.

Speaking to IANS, a senior BCCI official said that Ashwin should have maintained decorum. "The match officials have failed in their duty with the handling of this issue. Buttler ought to have been adjudged not out if the laws were applied squarely to the situation. Ashwin also must understand that laws and the spirit of the game both have to be kept in mind.

"A player is supposed to deceive the other with his cricketing skills and not with shady skills. If the batsman is taking advantage, deal with it in the right way - as a gentleman. Competitiveness is all very well but a standard of decorum ought to be maintained," the official said.

Another official said that these things will impact the popularity of the player. "This mode of dismissal is akin to back-stabbing. That is why it will always be criticized. It gets you the result, but you surely won't win a popularity contest this way," he said.

He also blasted Jos Buttler for not shaking hands with R Ashwin after the game. "Buttler not shaking hands with Ashwin after the game was also against the spirit of the game. Both these things are inexcusable where the spirit of the game is concerned," the official said.

Feature Cricket

Clock This One!

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 26 March, 2019, 5:47 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

A countdown timer will now decide the pace at which Test cricket is played, that is if the Marylebone Cricket Club has its way.

Timeouts and countdowns are relatively new concepts, brought into the more traditional sport of cricket through its youngest avatar, Twenty20. However, following the research that suggests that the past year was the slowest in Test cricket in terms of over rate, the Marylebone Cricket Club’s world cricket committee comprising of illustrious former cricketers has suggested that a countdown timer be used to ensure that time wasting is reduced to the bare minimum.

This would include time for drinks breaks, for when one batsman is dismissed and also, for the use of the Decision Review System (DRS). Of these the latter has been considered one of the big factors when it comes to slow over rate even though cricket laws allow for just two reviews per innings for each team.

There have been rare instances in the past when a batsman was timed out simply for not being ready at the fall of a wicket and it could go some way between teams that look to simply play for time. How a timer would work in such a scenario is still anyone’s guess. For the moment though the MCC is only suggesting addressing the issue of the former where a prefixed time would be set for the new batsman to take the crease. Furthermore, only marginal more seconds would be accorded to the fielding team for a change of bowler and even the decision review system is not being spared either.

Rather than run through the mandatory replays, speeding up the process of arriving at a decision without going through all of the protocol for the sake of television is being mooted. In that light, there is a proposed countdown for play to resume even as the broadcasters and the umpires decide on the fate of the batsman.

While on the face of it, it seems in line with the times and with the need particularly to improve on overrates, at the present time, there are already penalties on teams as well as captains and countdown or no countdown, one wonders if the quantum of punishment change would have a more drastic effect than merely imposing a clock on the screen. Unless the punishment, which currently goes as far as barring a skipper for a match even, perhaps is more impactful on the match proceedings directly, infringements could well continue even if the clock is now prominently displayed before every over, between drinks and between change of guard at the fall of a wicket. Changing the scenario of over rates could, also, prove tricky on pitches that favour pace and bounce rather than the slow, enticing duel of bat versus spin. Several factors to consider as a countdown clock might need an additional support system to be truly effective over time.

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