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Indian Premier League 2020

‘When will the Aussies learn?’ – Gavaskar comes out in favour of Mankading, suggests name change

Ashwin Mankading
by Wisden Staff 4-minute read

Sunil Gavaskar, who was on air when off-spinner R Ashwin recently ‘warned’ non-striker Aaron Finch who was backing up too far, has said that batsmen have been taking advantage for far too long now and that the popular spirit of cricket defence against Mankading is a ‘mythical’ concept, just like “the line Australians say they never cross on the field”.

Referring to the origin of the word “Mankading”, when India’s Vinoo Mankad ran out Australia opener Bill Brown in the 1947 Sydney Test, Gavaskar said that, years later, Australians “still haven’t learnt” staying within the crease.

“The first thing that struck me when I saw that [the Ashwin warning],” Gavaskar told Indian Express, “was when will the Aussies learn? Because it happened to Bill Brown in 1947 and we are in 2020; they still haven’t learnt. The simple thing is you have to look at the bowler and move out when he releases. You can’t look at the batsman like Finch was doing and walk out of the crease. The law is clear. It’s as simple as that.

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“The reason why this has become a moral issue is this so-called spirit of cricket, which is mythical. Just like the line the Australians say they never cross on the field. Even that is mythical; no one knows where that line is. It’s beyond me why getting the batsmen out at the bowler’s end – one who is trying to take undue advantage by stepping out – be considered unsportsmanlike.”

Despite backlash from those who consider the action against the ‘spirit of the game’, including his current IPL coach Ricky Ponting, Ashwin has famously advocated the method. After the Finch warning, Ashwin tweeted that it is the “first and final warning of 2020”.

Gavaskar further noted that the dismissal should be referred to as the “Brown”, as non-striker Bill Brown was at fault in 1947, not the bowler.

“Vinoo Mankad is a legend of Indian cricket, one of the great all-rounders who has won matches for India,” Gavaskar said. “And you use his name for, what is looked at by the cricketing world, as unsportsmanlike behaviour – that’s not acceptable to me.

“I don’t want an Indian legend’s name to be disparaged. It baffles me why so many in the Indian media keep using that word as if they don’t have any respect for any Indian legends. As Indians, we should be the last to encourage such usage. That’s why yesterday on television, I said Ashwin tried to Brown him. Because Bill Brown was at fault in 1947 and not Vinoo Mankad.”

Gavaskar suggested that the TV umpires, who monitor every delivery for a potential front-foot no-ball, can be tasked with checking the non-striker, and whether he has left the crease before the ball is released.

“It should be called one run short,” Gavaskar said. “He needs to call it straightaway. The same camera can catch this. Even if the bowler hasn’t tried to run (the non-striker) out and has released the ball, the third umpire should call it one-short every time.”

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