Ricky Ponting, the head coach of Indian Premier League (IPL) team Delhi Capitals, will have a “hard conversation” with Ravichandran Ashwin over the idea of ‘mankading’ ahead of the upcoming season, making it clear that the franchise has a strict policy against the controversial method of dismissal.
Ashwin kicked up a storm during IPL 2019 by ‘mankading’ England’s Jos Buttler, a move that polarised opinion among the cricketing fraternity. While some defended Ashwin, saying that his method was within the laws of the game, others frowned over a perceived lack of sportsmanship.
Speaking on The Grade Cricketer Podcast, Ponting said that he had a conversation with the Delhi Capitals players soon after Ashwin effected the dismissal during a Kings XI Punjab-Rajasthan Royals match. Captaining Punjab, Ashwin dismissed Rajasthan’ non-striker Buttler, who had walked out of his crease by the time the off-spinner began his bowling action.
“I’ll be having a chat with him about [mankad], that’s the first thing I’ll do,” Ponting said about Ashwin, who was traded from Punjab to Delhi ahead of IPL 2020. “Obviously, he wasn’t in our squad last year, he’s one of our players that we tried to afford to bring in this year. Look, he’s a terrific bowler, and he’s done a great job in the IPL for a long period of time now, but I must admit watching that last season, as soon as it happened and he did that, I actually sat our boys down and said ‘Look, I know he’s done it, there’ll be others around the tournament who’ll think about doing this well but that’s not going to be the way that we play our cricket. We won’t be doing that’.”
So…was it justifiable for Ashwin to Mankad Buttler there? #IPL2019
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 25, 2019
“So, that’s going to be a conversation and that’s going to be a hard conversation I will have to have with him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll take it on the chin. I think, even him, looking back now, probably he’d say it was within the rules and he’s right to do it, but this is not within the spirit of the game, not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi Capitals anyway.”
The policy may put him on a collision course with Ashwin, who has repeatedly defended his actions, saying in June, “What I did is what the rules are supposed to be.”
Ponting went onto reveal his own preferred solution for stopping non-strikers gaining an unfair advantage. “I think there’s ways that you can actually stop batsmen cheating like that,” he said. “If the bowler was to stop, and the batsman was a foot out of his crease for instance, why don’t you just penalise him some runs or something? Then they won’t do it again.
“You’ve only got to do that once at the start of a tournament, and then all the players see it, and you can guarantee the players won’t be fudging any ground from then on. I chatted to some of the match referees about it during last year’s IPL as well. If the umpires make a stance and do something to warn the batsman that they might be cheating, then that’s better than having the ugly incident of a mankad.”