Australia teammates Mitchell Starc and Marnus Labuschagne were involved in an interesting exchange during the Sheffield Shield game between Queensland and New South Wales. Starc, turning out for NSW, noticed that Labuschagne, who was at the non-striker’s end, was backing out of his crease before the delivery was being bowled. Rather than choose to run the batsman out - a mode of dismissal referred as ‘The Mankad’ in cricketing circles - Starc instead took the high road, pulling out of his delivery stride and sending a warning to his international teammate, who was bemused at the warning. However, it is clear that Starc could well have run him out.
NSW won the toss and elected to bowl but made only one breakthrough in the first session when Harry Conway (1-16) dismissed Bryce Street (22), caught by Nick Larkin at third slip.
Things ramped up in the middle session as Sean Abbott (2-40) had Test opener Joe Burns caught behind for 29 before clipping Usman Khawaja’s (4) off stump with a lovely ball that nipped off the seam.
Starc removed another former Test batsman in Matthew Renshaw (8) when he failed to move his feet and was caught behind by Peter Nevill.
‘The Mankad’ is a legitimate but controversial mode of dismissal in cricket. While it is well within the rules to run a batsman out in such a scenario, the dismissal is seen by many as being against the spirit of the game.
The argument made by critics of the mode of dismissal is that bowlers should give batsmen a warning first before enacting it, which is what Starc did in this case.
However others - including R Ashwin, who has led a campaign of sorts to legitimise it as a means of dismissal - say a warning is pointless since it is within the rules of the game.