by Alexander Mackay
International umpire and President of Cricket Switzerland, Alexander Mackay, discusses “mankading” with two examples in recent international games.
While watching an England recovery led by Ben Stokes against Bangladesh I decided to peruse through issue 25 of the ACO magazine that my friend and fellow umpire Steve Tripp had passed to me in Warsaw at the European T20 Club Champions Trophy way back in September.
In the magazine I read about an U19s mankading* incident at a World Cup game between West Indies & Zimbabwe. The article explains that Zimbabwe required three runs to win from the last over, while the West Indies required one wicket. The game was in the balance. Keemo Paul was passed the ball and given the responsibility of either containing the over to two runs, or, take the last wicket to win the match.
I’m sure you can guess the next bit. As Paul ran in to deliver the first ball of the over, he stopped, before entering his delivery stride and removed the bails of Zimbabwe’s no. 11 bat, Richard Ngarva. The decision was referred upstairs to Tom Robinson, the TV umpire, who confirmed that Ngarva’s bat was on the crease when the wicket was broken, not behind it, and therefore out.
I was also witness to an incident involving the Swiss national side this summer at the European T20 Cup in Warsaw, Poland, in the game Sledgehammer versus Switzerland. The Swiss required 3 runs off the last five balls of the last over. Shahnawaz was at the striker's end and Adam Pratt the non-striker's, when the Sledgehammer bowler Idrish Saifi, with no previous word of warning, ‘mankaded’ Adam. After a short discussion between the umpires (Andrew Scott & Steve Tripp from Belgium) and the Sledgehammer captain being asked if he would like to withdraw his appeal, Adam was given out and Sledgehammer won the game by 1 run.
In both cases it was an unfitting end to such a great game of cricket and, as the article implies, we would have all preferred to see Paul or Saifi hit the stumps or Matigimu or Shahnawaz hit the ball to the boundary.
To reiterate the message from the ICC after the U19s game, if the batsman is out of his crease, then he is out. If Richard or Adam had been in their crease there would have been no issue and no discussion whether this was within the Spirit of Cricket.
My point is that, as the ICC believes, this isn’t a Spirit of Cricket issue, but an issue with the Laws of Cricket. And I have to agree. We don’t want batsman stealing runs. But if we want to obligate a bowler to warn a batsman before he is run out in this manner then we have to reflect that in the laws. And until this is clarified there will always be a jury out on this, but batsmen be warned, you will be given out under the laws as they stand!
* The first examples of being run out in this way occurred during India's tour of Australia on 13 December 1947 in the second Test at Sydney. Vinoo Mankad ran out Bill Brown when, in the act of delivering the ball, he held on to it and removed the bails with Brown well out of his crease. This was the second time Mankad had dismissed Brown in this fashion on the tour, having already done it in an earlier match against an Australian XI. On that occasion he had warned Brown once before running him out. The Australian press accused Mankad of being unsportsmanlike, although some Australians, including Don Bradman, the Australian captain at the time, defended Mankad's actions.
Since that day, a batsman dismissed in this fashion is (informally) said to have been "Mankaded".