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U-turn: Marylebone Cricket Club says Ashwin's act against spirit of game

by Saurabh Sharma Mar 28, 2019 • 16:20 PM

Dubai, March 28 (CRICKETNMORE): Ravichandran Ashwin's 'Mankading' of Jos Buttler in the Indian Premier League (IPL) was not 'within the spirit of the game', the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) said after reviewing footage of the incident.

The MCC told British newspaper, The Telegraph, on Wednesday the run-out was indeed contrary to the spirit of the game. "Having extensively reviewed the incident again, and after further reflection, we don't think it was within the spirit of the game," MCC laws manager Fraser Stewart said.

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The MCC reasoned the pause between the moment Ashwin reached the crease and the moment of delivery was unusually long.

As per the law, if the non-striker has left the crease at the moment the bowler would "normally" be expected to release the ball, he is entitled to try to run him out. "We believe the pause was too long between the time Ashwin reached the crease and the moment it was reasonable to expect the ball would be delivered," Stewart said.

However, he clarified it is also unfair on the part of the non-striker to gain an unfair advantage, and the best way to avoid the mess is to make sure to stay inside the crease until the ball has begun travelling down the pitch.

"When Buttler could have reasonably expected the ball to be delivered, he was in his ground," he said. It is also unfair, and against the Spirit of cricket, for non-strikers to leave their ground too early. All these debates wouldn't be necessary if non-strikers stayed in their crease until the ball is on its way down the pitch."

The MCC had earlier said: "[The] incident could have been ruled out or not out. This law is essential. Without it, non-strikers could back up at liberty, several yards down the pitch, and a law is needed to prevent such action.

"The crux of the issue is when the non-striker can safely leave his/her ground, and what the bowler can do to effect this form of dismissal without courting controversy. To clarify, 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/her ground early."

Kings XI Punjab skipper Ashwin sparked a controversy after running out Buttler instead of completing his delivery when the Rajasthan Royals batsman was backing up at the non-striker's end.

The dismissal -- named after India bowler Vinoo Mankad who ran out Australia's Bill Brown in similar fashion in 1947 -- is permitted under cricket's laws, but viewed by some as against the spirit of the game.

Stewart defended MCC's change in stance. "We didn't come down either way (in the original statement)," he said. 

"Ultimately, the game is for the players and they've got a responsibility to work out how they want to play it and set an example to grassroots cricketers as role models, by upholding standards to preserve the game, and particularly the spirit of cricket, for future generations.

"The spirit of cricket is as relevant now as it has ever been. It is important that cricket is played in accordance with the spirit of the game, as well as within the laws."