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The Mankad that wasn’t: When Sehwag retracted Ashwin’s controversial appeal in 2012

Ashwin Mankad 2012
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

R Ashwin’s vocal support for ‘Mankading’ has been evident since he (in)famously dismissed Jos Buttler in the 2019 IPL; another lesser-remembered incident in 2012 saw him attempt the same against Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne, but the appeal was retracted after his India teammates intervened.

The drama occurred during the 40th over of Sri Lanka’s innings during their 2012 Commonwealth Bank ODI series clash against India in Brisbane, with Angelo Mathews on strike and Thirmanne at the other end. Ashwin entered his bowling stride but halted mid-action, promptly flicking the non-striker’s bails off to catch an unsuspecting Thirimanne out of his crease. Ashwin turned to umpire Paul Reiffel in appeal, before walking up to his teammates.

The on-air commentators at first tried to ascertain if it was an actual appeal, also noting that the bowler had seemingly warned Thirimanne before. Reiffel walked up to fellow umpire Billy Bowden to discuss the situation at hand, before summoning captain Virender Sehwag to confirm if the team was retaining their appeal. Sachin Tendulkar then walked in and appeared to suggest Sehwag withdraw the appeal, which India eventually decided to do.


Later, Sehwag said that the team decided to withdraw the appeal “because if we appealed and the umpire gave him out, then somebody will criticise that, you know, that was not spirit of the game”. Mahela Jayawardene, the opposition skipper, wasn’t sure if there had been a prior warning, although Sehwag maintained that Ashwin had alerted Thirimanne before.

“Everybody was discussing it,” Sehwag said after the game, “but the umpires called me and I said, ‘We can give him one more warning but if he does it again we will [run him out] because that’s the ICC rule’. If somebody is taking an early start, then the bowlers have the full right to run him out.”

On March 9 this year, the MCC went further in their efforts to destigmatise the ‘Mankad’, moving it from the ‘Unfair Play’ section of the Laws to the ‘Run Out’ section of the Laws, as part of a new set of law changes to come into effect from October this year. The decision was met with some criticism, including from Stuart Broad, who said that bowlers require “zero skill” to effect the “unfair” dismissal.


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