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James Anderson wants removal of Mankad law after U19 World Cup controversy

Anderson white-ball
by Wisden Staff 3-minute read

England paceman James Anderson called for the Mankad law to be scrapped, after what transpired in the quarter-final between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

Joining the debate surrounding the run-out on social media, Anderson insisted it is “not a legitimate way to get someone out”. Expressing his disappointment that the incident happened at the U19 level, he added, “Unfortunately it’s not the first time I’ve seen it in under 19 cricket. What are they being coached?”

The bowler was weighing in on the incident on January 31, where Pakistan opener Mohammad Huraira was batting on 64 in their chase of 190, when Noor Ahmed, the Afghanistan left-arm wrist-spinner, dislodged the bails at the non-striker’s end while in his delivery stride and appealed for a run-out. On-field umpire Sam Nogajski referred it to the third umpire Roly Black, who adjudged the batsman out as per the rules.

While the dismissal didn’t deter Pakistan’s progress as they cruised home by six wickets, it did spark a controversy, as always, on the ‘spirit of cricket’, and Anderson was among those who disapproved of Afghanistan’s actions.

“Can we sort out (remove) this law please @ICC #MCC??” he tweeted. “There are enough ways to get a batsman out involving skill (either as a bowler or fielder). I don’t think I’ve played with anyone who feels like this is a legitimate way of getting someone out.”

The Afghanistan team themselves seemed to have mixed feelings about it. “At that time, we realised let’s do something different to build pressure on Pakistan,” skipper Farhan Zakhil told ESPNcricinfo. “To be honest, it was not in the spirit of the game.

“But we wanted to win. It was a very important game for us. The people of Afghanistan wanted us to beat Pakistan. But it’s within the rules – and out is out. You have to stay within the crease … If we were winning, we probably wouldn’t have done it.”

However, Ian Bishop, the former West Indies bowler, has been categorical in his support of the dismissal, emphasising that the ‘spirit of cricket’ is more about a player’s conduct rather than false morality about using a dismissal that is within the laws of the game. Commenting on a Wisden tweet, India’s Harsha Bhogle said, “There is no question of even a debate on this. [Bishop] is absolutely right. It doesn’t even need to be an issue any more.”

This isn’t the first time that a batsman had been Mankaded in the U19 Cricket World Cup. In the 2016 edition, West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul ran out Zimbabwe’s Richard Ngarava in similar fashion, when the batting side needed three off the final over with just one wicket remaining. The move had been criticised by several players then, including Darren Lehmann, Stephen Fleming, David Warner and Eoin Morgan.

England appear to take a particularly contrary stand to the dismissal. Sachitra Senanayake’s run-out of Jos Buttler in an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2014 had prompted Alistair Cook to accuse the opponents of “crossing the line”. There was similar furore when the England keeper was run out again in an IPL 2019 fixture, with R Ashwin the bowler.

Ashwin, for one, has made it clear where he stands. Referring to a stunt Anderson pulled following the IPL incident, where he shredded Ashwin’s photo on his radio show, the Indian off-spinner quipped, “Law removal might need some deliberation!! A Shredder might do the trick for now.”

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