Don’t use the term ‘Mankad’ in a negative connotation, remember the legend for his cricketing achievements, and don’t judge bowlers who use the legitimate form of dismissal by invoking ‘spirit of cricket’ subjectively.
These are Dinesh Karthik’s thoughts on bowlers running out non-strikers before delivering the ball, a mode of dismissal that has eternally sparked polarising opinions in the cricket fraternity.
Talking to Cricketnext as part of the Laws of Cricket Challenge, Karthik questioned why Bill Brown - the Australian batsman who was run out by Vinoo Mankad in the first instance of the dismissal in 1947 - was not remembered despite walking out of the crease.
“There are two issues I have with this ‘Mankad’ run out. First is the implementation of it. Second is the name ‘Mankad’ run out," he said.
“First let’s come down to the implementation. All the way from Don Bradman to Sunil Gavaskar, everyone has said it’s completely within the rules. The ICC and MCC have also taken a stand that it is okay. So I don’t see the reason why bowlers or any team that does it is looked at in a negative way."
Karthik said the dismissal should not be called ‘Mankad’, especially when the ICC and MCC call it just a run out.
“Two, the name of it. The person who did it first time was Vinoo Mankad. Interestingly, he was alert enough to do that dismissal. But more importantly, nobody remembers the batsman who got run out. It was Bill Brown.
“If Mankad was the first person who did that run out, Bill Brown was the first person who got run out for being silly and walking out of the crease. Why is it that people remember Mankad and not Brown? Why can’t it be called anything to do with Bill Brown? He (Mankad) followed the rules and did it.
“He (Brown) was even given a warning. Giving a warning to the batter is accepted as spirit of cricket. But I don’t see a bowler tactically giving a warning to get a batsman bowled or caught, why should a warning be given for a run out?
“The ICC and MCC call it a run out. So the name Mankad shouldn’t be used in a negative connotation."
The Kolkata Knight Riders captain stressed it’s wrong to remember Vinoo Mankad only for this act.
“More importantly, for people who know the history of the game Vinoo Mankad was the first person to get 1000 runs and 100 wickets. He had the highest partnership with Pankaj Roy (413) before it was broken as an opening pair. He was an opening batsman and had the highest Test score (231) until Gavaskar ended up breaking it (in 1983). There are so many great things to remember Vinoo Mankad as a cricketer. Why is he remembered only for this? He’s a legend in Indian cricket and should be remembered for all the right reasons.
“Does anybody remember what a great cricketer Vinoo Mankad was? What all he achieved on the field. The only thing they remember him for is this, which I feel is wrong. Back then itself, Don Bradman himself came out and said what Mankad did and within the laws of the game."
Interestingly, the legendary Bradman, Australia’s captain in that Test in Sydney, had in fact defended Mankad against the criticism.
“The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the non-striker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered. If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out?" Bradman wrote in his book Farewell to Cricket.
“Mankad was an ideal type, and he was so scrupulously fair that he first of all warned Brown before taking any action. There was absolutely no feeling in the matter as far as we were concerned, for we considered it quite a legitimate part of the game."
Karthik said batsmen would stay within the line if this dismissal was done frequently, but explained that teams are ‘scared’ to do it due to the moral repercussions they’re subjected to.
“If this is done just like a run out consistently, then obviously the batsmen will be even more careful and stop doing it. But because it is not encouraged and looked at in a negative way, and people are doubted morally, the bowlers, the captains and the teams are scared of doing it more for the repercussions that anything else," he said.
“But if it is legal means to get a player out and ICC is completely in sync with it and MCC have said for the longest time that it is right to do it, then why is it that it’s not accepted as a mode of dismissal? In what way is it different to a run out?
“A lot of time a batsman hits the ball, it hits the bowler’s hand by mistake and hits the stump. Then does the captain say no, it’s okay it happened by mistake? Where does that stand?"
Karthik also suggested an alternative to stop batsmen from crossing the crease in case the ‘moral’ tag persists.
“Now there is technology for checking no balls. So using the camera, check if the non-striker leaves the crease early. Every time a batsman backs up early, all runs should be disallowed. Only a wicket should stand."