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Rob Key leaves out R Ashwin from his XI for virtual Test because of Mankad

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Speaking on the Sky Cricket Podcast, Rob Key said he would not pick Indian spinner R Ashwin in his world XI, arguing that he would not choose a bowler who ‘Mankads’ a batsman.

“This is where it’s a pain. The one who is statistically the best — is this right? — in my era is Ashwin,” said Key, while deciding on a spinner for his world XI in a virtual face-off against Nasser Hussain’s XI, currently being run on cricket simulation.

“I refuse to have someone in my side who does ‘Mankads’. I can’t…they’re an actual part of the game and all the bowlers can start hammering me, and it’s all part of it, but….

“And he Mankaded one of my big mates, Jos Buttler, so I am not having him.”

The incident Key was referring to occurred during IPL 2019, when Ashwin, playing for Kings XI Punjab ran out Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler at the non-striker’s end in his delivery stride. It prompted starkly polarised views; while some, such as Shane Warne, found it “disgraceful”, others including Simon Taufel supported the act, calling the outcry against Ashwin “incredibly unfair”.

MCC had, in a statement, called the law (41.16 under Laws of Cricket) “essential”, saying that “without it, non-strikers could back up at liberty, several yards down the pitch and a law is needed to prevent such action”.

Key eventually settled for Australia’s Nathan Lyon as the first-choice spinner in his XI.

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