The MCC's latest position is on a slightly different tone to their original statement on Tuesday (March 26), where they had stressed on the importance of the law while not commenting on whether Ashwin's action in this particular instance was against the spirit of cricket.
"Some feel that Ashwin delayed his action to allow Buttler the chance to leave his ground and that Buttler was in his ground when he expected the ball to be released. If it was a deliberate delay, that would be unfair and against the spirit of cricket. Ashwin claims this not to be the case," the MCC had stated then.
However, MCC’s manager of the Laws Fraser Stewart has said further reflection and extensive review of the dismissal has made them conclude that Ashwin's action was not in the right spirit.
“Having extensively reviewed the incident again and after further reflection we don’t think it was within the spirit of the game," he told Telegraph.
“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. When Buttler could have reasonably expected the ball to be delivered, he was in his ground."
Stewart rejected suggestions that the MCC had made a U-turn from their original stance, and stressed that non-strikers must not leave the crease until the ball is released.
“We didn’t come down either way (in the original statement),” Stewart said. “We now think at the key moment Buttler was in his ground.
“Buttler, it is fair to say, did not make a concerted effort to get back into his crease after Ashwin had delayed his delivery, and didn’t help himself in that respect.
“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 remained in their ground until the ball is on its way down the pitch."
But what if every bowler tried to delay their action to try a run-out at the non-striker's end? Stewart said the onus was on players to play by the law and spirit of the game and act as role models for future generations.
“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,” Stewart said. “The Spirit of Cricket (the preamble to the Laws) 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.”
First Published: March 28, 2019, 8:47 AM IST