The MCC has doubled down on its attitude towards ‘Mankading’, saying it has no intention of banning the practice and reminding non-strikers “to remain in their ground until they have seen the ball leave the bowler's hand”.
Its advice comes after England's Charlie Dean was controversially run out by India bowler Deepti Sharma at the non-striker’s end to seal a one-day international victory for the visitors at Lord's on Saturday evening.
Dean, England’s No 9, had compiled 47 runs to spark hopes of an improbable England win in the final match of the series.
But she was left in tears after Sharma calmly whipped off the bails at the non-striker’s end having already entered her delivery stride, to ensure a 16-run win for India that sparked accusations of unsporting behaviour.
The fall-out has split the world of cricket and reignited the debate over Mankads with former England captain Michael Vaughan and Stuart Broad, the fast bowler, expressing their displeasure with Sharma's actions.
Vaughan tweeted: "Mankad is in the rules, but I hope it's not a go too tactic. You surely don't train all your lives to win a game using that tactic. And I know batters should train to stay behind the line but it stinks seeing a game won like that...Yesterday was a bloody good game too #India".
Broad was more measured but still made his feelings plain, tweeting: "I find the debate of the Mankad really interesting. So many views from either side. I personally wouldn’t like to win a match like that, also, very happy for others to feel differently."
Fellow fast bowler James Anderson also showed his displeasure when responding to a Tweet by England international Sam Billings which highlighted how Dean's bat was still in the crease when Sharma was in her delivery stride by tweeting: "Spot on. No intention of bowling the ball".
There’s surely not a person who has played the game that thinks this is acceptable?
Just not cricket… https://t.co/VLGeddDlrz
— Sam Billings (@sambillings) September 24, 2022
But the view was not universally shared, with Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin calling for Sharma to receive a bravery award for going through with the Mankad despite knowing they would face a huge backlash.
He tweeted: "How about awarding that wicket to the bowler for 'presence of mind' under immense pressure and of course knowing the social stigma that he/she would have to deal with post doing it. How about a bravery award to go with it too @ICC ?".
His reaction came after Kate Cross, the England bowler, said she would not have used such a method of dismissal.
“No, I wouldn’t. Ultimately, it’s Deepti’s choice how she goes about it. Deepti chose to dismiss Charlie Dean that way.
“I’m more disappointed for Charlie that she couldn’t get a fifty at Lord’s today because she looked set to do that,” Cross said.
Harmanpreet Kaur, the India captain, insisted her side had committed ‘no crime’ despite the crowd reaction.
“Whatever we have done, I don’t think it was any crime. It is part of the game and it is an ICC rule, and I think we just need to back our player,” she said. “I’m actually very happy she was aware of that.”
“Mankads” – named after India international Vinoo Mankad, an expert in the practice – are now enshrined as a legitimate dismissal in the Laws of the Game, but remain controversial, with many claiming it is unsportsmanlike.
Dean paid the price for leaving her ground early when Sharma came in to bowl. A television review subsequently judged her to be out, prompting Dean to throw her bat to the ground in tears before going over to shake the hands of the India players.
A controversial ending but...India win by 16 runs and complete a series sweep against England. 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/gsBpqDcXNp
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) September 24, 2022
Cross said: “I thought Deano was absolutely brilliant, the way she went over and shook hands immediately. If you are talking about the spirit of cricket, I thought that was just fantastic from Deano.”
Former England player Alex Hartley felt India had acted improperly. “I don’t think it’s in the spirit of the game,” Hartley told the BBC. “She [Sharma] always threatens to do it, so as a team you’ll talk about it. I don’t think that’s how you should finish an international game.”
The official MCC law relating to 'Mankads' states: "If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be run out.
"In these circumstances, the non-striker will be out run out if he/she is out of his/her ground when his/her wicket is put down by the bowler throwing the ball at the stumps or by the bowler's hand holding the ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered."
At least Dean was eventually able to see the funny side. During the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy final between Northern Diamonds and Southern Vipers on Sunday, again at Lord's, Dean faked a Mankad when Diamonds batter Linsey Smith inched out of her crease.
The MCC which looks after the laws of the game, published a statement on its website on Sunday, saying that while cricket was a "broad church", and while views on the 'Mankad' would vary, it had no intention of banning the practice.
Earlier this year, the MCC announced amendments to the laws of cricket to move being run out at the non-striker's end from Law 41 ‘Unfair Play’, to Law 38 ‘Run Out’. This change will formally come into effect from October 1.
"This was done to clarify this matter and to place an onus on batters to ensure that they do not leave the crease at the non-striker’s end, prior to a bowler releasing the ball," the MCC said.
"The Law is clear, as it needs to be for all umpires to be able to easily interpret throughout all levels of the game and at all moments in the game.
"Cricket is a broad church and the spirit by which it is played is no different. As custodians of the Spirit of Cricket, MCC appreciates its application is interpreted differently across the globe.
"Respectful debate is healthy and should continue, as where one person sees the bowler as breaching the Spirit in such examples, another will point at the non-striker gaining an unfair advantage by leaving their ground early.
"MCC's message to non-strikers continues to be to remain in their ground until they have seen the ball leave the bowler's hand. Then dismissals, such as the one seen yesterday, cannot happen.
"Whilst yesterday was indeed an unusual end to an exciting match, it was properly officiated and should not be considered as anything more."