I have reading, with much bemusement, about the controversy overnight surrounding the Mankading of Jos Buttler by Sachithra Senanayake in the 42nd over of the 5th ODI fixture between England and Sri Lanka.
My bemusement comes from the fact this dismissal is actually controversial! Consider these facts:
1. Senanayake warned both batsman in the 42nd about backing up too far.
2. Buttler ignored both warnings and backed up a significant way out of his crease on the ball that led to the dismissal.
3. Mankading, as a dismissal, is part of the laws of the game. Indeed in 2011 the Laws of Cricket were amended to make the mankad easier to pull off.
4. The spirit of cricket, which ostensibly is a fairness standard, allows for this form of dismissal in the context of the batsman both being warned and repeatedly offending in backing up too far.
Why then the alleged controversy? All we have seen in this game is the laws and spirit of the game actually working. I could understand umbrage being taken if no warning had been given but to have warned twice and then acted strikes me as conduct entirely within the game’s spirit.
English fans will no doubt make some allegation of cheating against Sachithra Senanayake but frankly the only cheats on the ground in the 42nd over over night were the batters backing up too far. The fact that one of them was dismissed by a bowling knowledgeable in the laws of the game and the spirit surrounding there application ought be lauded rather than demonised!
Well played Sachithra Senanayake for following the game’s laws and Angelo Matthews for backing his player in upholding the appeal.
If anyone should be hauled over the coals for breaching the spirit of cricket doctrine it is the English players for their over the top sledging of Matthews and others when it came Sri Lanka’s turn to bat but, of course, the ICC is part run by the ECB now so the chances of that happening are slim at best.