Traditionally, there are 10 different methods of dismissal in cricket, meaning that for a batsman it’s fairly easy to keep up and make sure you stay on the field. However, recently an offshoot of the “run-out” method of dismissal has been finding more popularity. “Mankading” is perhaps one of the more controversial methods of dismissal, and its unsporting nature has been brought into question.
What is mankading?
A technique which was originally used by former Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad (thus the name), mankading is the only way to get a run-out without the ball even being bowled. If the batsman at the non-striker’s end has left the crease before the ball is bowled, the bowler can stop the delivery and take off the bails at the nearest stumps. This is the equivalent of a stumping taking place at the other end, but would take out the non-striker instead.
Why in mankading controversial?
In the first instance, a lot of people don’t like mankading because it seems incredibly unsportsmanly. A batsman will often drift outside the crease when he’s backing up as a force of habit, and might occasionally stray a step too far. For the most part, bowlers understand this (since they often need to bat themselves) and give the batsman a warning to say that they’re keeping an eye on it and that the batter should be a little bit more careful in future. In these cases, a Mankad is considered to be fair game, since the bowler gave ample warning.
However, more controversial “Mankads” have come when the bowler hasn’t said anything to the batsman, and just took the bails off. In a 2019 IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, Ravichandran Ashwin took off Jos Buttler’s bails without him being initially warned. This was a vital wicket that changed the flow of the game, as Buttler alone was almost matching the required run rate. The Royals collapsed, and a lot of people considered the win to be undeserved because Ashwin hadn’t warned Buttler.
It makes the game less entertaining
Another reason given for people not wanting to see a Mankad is that too many of them can make the game less entertaining. Rather than a match in which fast bowlers ping the ball down the pitch in an attempt to get a ball nicked to the slips, balls get interrupted by the bowler trying to get the wrong batsman out. Arguably the Mankad breaks up the tempo of the game, and in the faster-paced versions of cricket, more frequent Mankads would significantly damage the entertainment value. That entertainment value is something that the IPL, for example, has spent years building and wouldn’t want to lose.
Ultimately, the Mankad is a quite simple technique which means you can get a wicket without having bowled a ball in the first place. However, if you do wish to use it, use it sparingly. Otherwise, people could consider you unsporting, and it might ruin the game for any spectators that are watching you.