What is mankading in cricket?

The term 'Mankading' has a storied origin in the annals of cricket, stemming from an incident involving Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad. During India's tour of Australia in 1947, Mankad caused controversy by running out Bill Brown at the non-striker's end, as Brown had left his crease before the ball was delivered. This act, legal within the Laws of Cricket, was viewed by some as against the spirit of the game, while others saw it as a legitimate tactic. The term 'Mankading' was subsequently coined, encapsulating this mode of dismissal that continues to spark debate.

Despite its contentious nature, 'Mankading' is deeply embedded in the sport's history and remains a talking point whenever it is executed in a match. Its inception was not to signify a regular form of dismissal but rather to highlight a rare and exceptional event that challenged traditional cricketing ethos. Over the years, the interpretation of this incident has evolved, reflecting the changing attitudes towards the laws and spirit of cricket.

Understanding the Laws: When is Mankading Permitted?

To address the query of "what is mankading in cricket", one must refer to the Laws of Cricket as maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). According to Law 41.16, a bowler is permitted to run out the non-striker before the ball has been bowled if the latter has left the crease. This law aims to prevent the non-striking batsman from gaining an unfair advantage by leaving their ground early. It is a legal move, yet it is often met with moral scrutiny, as it involves a direct dismissal that bypasses the more conventional battle between bowler and batsman.

The law stipulates that the bowler must not have completed their usual delivery swing to attempt a 'Mankad'. This aspect of the law ensures that the action is a deliberate one, rather than a by-product of the delivery motion. The application of this law requires vigilance from the umpires, who must ascertain that the bowler has acted within the legal framework to execute a 'Mankading'. It is a part of the game that demands a nuanced understanding of the rules, balancing the fine line between fair play and gaining a competitive edge.

The Bowler's Perspective: Ethical Dilemma or Legitimate Tactic?

For bowlers, 'Mankading' presents a dichotomy between ethical play and the strategic use of the laws. Some bowlers view it as a justifiable measure to counteract the unfair advantage gained by a non-striker leaving the crease prematurely. They argue that since the law permits such a dismissal, it should be considered as legitimate as any other wicket-taking method. This perspective is grounded in the principle that all players should abide by the rules, and those who do not risk the consequences, such as being 'Mankaded'.

However, there is a considerable ethical debate surrounding this issue. Many within the cricketing community feel that 'Mankading' breaches the 'spirit of the game', a nebulous concept that advocates sportsmanship and fair play. Bowlers who engage in 'Mankading' often face criticism and can be subject to censure from fellow players and spectators alike. This dichotomy places bowlers in a challenging position, having to reconcile the lawful nature of the act with its perceived moral implications.

The Bowler's Perspective: Ethical Dilemma or Legitimate Tactic

High-Profile Mankading Incidents in International Cricket

The cricketing world has witnessed several high-profile 'Mankading' incidents that have fuelled the debate around this mode of dismissal. One of the most talked-about instances occurred during a One-Day International match in 2014 when Sri Lankan bowler Sachithra Senanayake ran out England's Jos Buttler at the non-striker's end. The event caused an uproar, dividing opinion among players, commentators, and fans. While some defended Senanayake's actions as within the rules, others condemned it as contrary to the spirit of cricket.

Another significant incident took place in the Indian Premier League, where Ravichandran Ashwin, playing for Kings XI Punjab, 'Mankaded' Jos Buttler, who was then part of the Rajasthan Royals. The incident reignited the debate, with many former cricketers and experts weighing in. Such occurrences thrust 'Mankading' into the spotlight, prompting discussions on whether the laws need to be revisited or if attitudes towards the dismissal need to change. The recurrence of 'Mankading' in high-stakes matches underscores the ongoing tension between law and spirit in cricket.

The Batsman’s Viewpoint: Anticipation and Awareness

From the batsman's perspective, 'Mankading' can be seen as a jarring interruption to the natural flow of the game. It is often perceived as an unexpected and unwelcome dismissal, especially since the non-striker's primary focus is usually on the striking batsman and the ball being delivered. Non-strikers tend to leave their crease to gain momentum for a potential run, a practice ingrained in batsmen from an early stage of their development. However, the threat of 'Mankading' necessitates a heightened sense of awareness regarding their position relative to the crease until the ball is legally in play.

The responsibility, therefore, lies with the batsman to remain within the crease until it is safe to proceed. This need for vigilance can add an additional layer of mental pressure, particularly in high-intensity environments such as international matches or pivotal moments in a game. Batsmen, while acknowledging the legality of 'Mankading', often feel that it contradicts the unwritten rules of sportsmanship and mutual respect on the field. The fear of being 'Mankaded' can lead to a more cautious approach, potentially affecting the dynamism and aggressive running between the wickets.

Coaching Strategies to Avoid Being Mankaded

Coaches play a crucial role in preparing players for all aspects of the game, including the possibility of 'Mankading'. They must instil a sense of discipline and awareness in batsmen regarding their positioning at the non-striker's end. Training drills are often designed to reinforce the habit of watching the bowler's hand until the ball is released, thus reducing the risk of leaving the crease too early. Coaches also emphasise the importance of understanding and respecting the laws of the game, encouraging players to play within both the letter and the spirit of those laws.

Moreover, coaches may also work on the psychological aspects, ensuring that batsmen do not carry the fear of being 'Mankaded' into their overall game. This involves cultivating a balanced mindset that respects the bowler's rights while also protecting one's wicket. With the advent of 'Mankading' incidents in high-profile games, coaching strategies have had to adapt, incorporating lessons on the nuances of this dismissal into the broader curriculum of cricket education. By doing so, coaches aim to safeguard the integrity of the game while equipping players with the knowledge to navigate its complexities.

The Role of Umpires in Enforcing Mankading Rules

Umpires are the custodians of cricket's laws on the field, and their role in 'Mankading' scenarios is pivotal. They are tasked with making instantaneous decisions on whether a non-striker has left their crease prematurely and if the bowler has legitimately attempted a run-out in accordance with the laws. This requires umpires to maintain an acute level of concentration and an in-depth understanding of the nuanced regulations surrounding 'Mankading'. Their judgement must be both impartial and informed, as the consequences of their decisions can significantly impact the game's outcome.

The umpire's role extends beyond the mere act of decision-making; they are also responsible for managing the game's spirit and the players' conduct. In 'Mankading' instances, umpires often find themselves managing the aftermath, which can include dissent from the dismissed batsman or conflict between teams. As such, umpires must balance their enforcement of the laws with effective communication and management skills to maintain the game's decorum.

Mankading and Its Influence on the Spirit of Cricket

The 'spirit of cricket' is an ethos that promotes respect, sportsmanship, and fair play. 'Mankading', while legal, often clashes with this concept, leading to heated debates within the cricketing fraternity. Proponents of the spirit argue that cricket is more than just a compilation of laws; it embodies a higher sense of integrity and honour among players. In their view, 'Mankading' undermines these values, disrupting the mutual trust that underpins the sport.

However, the spirit of cricket is not a static concept; it evolves with the game. While traditionalists might view 'Mankading' as an affront to the sport's ethos, others contend that the spirit of cricket includes adherence to its laws. They argue that if the non-striker is taking undue advantage by stealing ground, it is within the bowler's right to counteract this within the laws provided. Thus, 'Mankading' can be seen as a test of the spirit of cricket, challenging it to adapt and perhaps redefine what is considered fair play in the modern era.

Mankading and Its Influence on the Spirit of Cricket

Public and Media Reactions to Mankading Episodes

Public and media responses to 'Mankading' incidents often mirror the divided opinion seen across the cricketing landscape. When such an event occurs, it invariably becomes a topic of intense discussion in both traditional and social media, with debates raging over the dismissal's legitimacy. Media outlets typically scrutinise the event, analysing the legality and morality of the action, often leading to polarised viewpoints. Some sections of the media may criticise the bowler for a perceived lack of sportsmanship, while others may defend the action as a legitimate tactic within the rules of the game.

The public reaction is similarly split. Fans and enthusiasts of cricket might take to social media platforms to express their support or disapproval, contributing to a broader conversation about the spirit and laws of cricket. In some cases, 'Mankading' can overshadow the broader narrative of the match or series, highlighting the strong emotions and passions that cricket invokes. It is clear that 'Mankading' not only affects the players and the immediate game but also resonates with a wider audience, influencing perceptions of the sport itself.

Comparative Analysis: Mankading in Different Cricketing Nations

The perception and application of 'Mankading' can vary significantly across different cricketing nations. In some countries, the practice might be seen as a straightforward application of the rules, with little to no stigma attached to the bowler. These nations often advocate a literal interpretation of the laws, prioritising the dismissal's legality over the subjective notion of the game's spirit. In contrast, other cricketing communities may view 'Mankading' with disdain, considering it an unsavoury tactic that should be avoided to preserve the game's gentlemanly image.

This divergence can be attributed to the varying cultural attitudes towards sportsmanship and fair play in different countries. For instance, nations with a strong adherence to traditional cricketing values may frown upon 'Mankading', while countries with a more pragmatic approach to competitive sports may accept it as part of the game. The international discourse on 'Mankading' thus reflects broader cultural perspectives and demonstrates how a single aspect of cricket can be interpreted in manifold ways around the globe.


In conclusion, the practice of 'Mankading' occupies a complex place within the modern game of cricket. It raises questions that extend beyond the mere act of a bowler running out a non-striker. These questions touch upon the very ethos of cricket, the interpretation of its laws, and the evolving nature of sportsmanship. As the game continues to develop, with new formats and changing strategies, 'Mankading' will likely remain a contentious issue that challenges players, officials, and fans to reflect on what is considered fair play.

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