West Indies U-19 and Zimbabwe U-19 faced off in Chittagong earlier today, with the winner progressing to the quarterfinals of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup. It was a closely contested game which, until the abominable incident in the last over, was played in great spirits and had some of the best young talents on show.
Zimbabwe won the toss and asked West Indies to bat first. The West Indian openers gave their team a fast start before being separated with the score on 42. West Indies then collapsed a little in the early phase of the second powerplay, before Shamar Springer made a 71-ball 61 to help his side reach a total of more than 200. He was the top-scorer for the West Indies, who finished on 9-226 at the end of 50 overs.
Zimbabwe’s chase followed much the same pattern as West Indies’ innings. They lost wickets at regular intervals, but a couple of 50+ partnerships kept them in the contest and meant that the game went down to the wire.
Heading into the last over, Zimbabwe needed three runs to book their place in the last eight. However, they had just one wicket in hand, making things slightly dicey for them. Richard Ngarava, Zimbabwe’s No.11, was at the non-striker’s end while his partner, Kundai Matigimu, braced himself to face Keemo Paul, entrusted with delivering the last over for the West Indies.
As Paul approached his delivery stride, he saw Ngarava backing up his batting partner from the non-striker’s end. Ngarava started leaving the crease when he should not have. Paul, as he was running in, had his eyes firmly fixed on Ngarava’s movements and dislodged the bails even before getting into his delivery stride. He also appealed to the umpire, who went onto consult with the man at square-leg before escalating it to the third umpire.
In the replays, it was clear that Ngarava’s bat had been dragged out of the crease and was on the line while Paul dislodged the bails. The third umpire declared Ngarava out, which was indeed the right decision.
What is this mode of dismissal called?
Is it fair?
International Cricket Council’s (ICC) playing condition 42.11 explicitly states that a mankad is fair.
So, what’s the fuss all about then?
As a bowler, you have numerous ways to get a batsman out. By mankading, the bowler is basically not indulging in a contest with the batsman. Instead, he is taking the easy route of running out the non-striker. West Indian cricketers are known for their charisma and West Indies are a great cricketing nation too. So, to have this incident coming from one of their next generation cricketers does not bode well for the Gentleman’s game in general.
If Paul, the 17-year-old bowler in this case, was so occupied with the non-striker leaving his crease before he delivered the ball, he could have warned Ngarava for the same. Ravichandran Ashwin, when he was in a similar situation during India’s 2011-12 tour of Australia, warned Lahiru Thirimanne, the batsman in question, to stay in the crease. Because the Srilankan batsman kept doing it repeatedly, the Indian off-spinner removed the bails and appealed. The umpires converged at that time too, but consulted the fielding captain, Virender Sehwag, if he wanted to stick with the appeal. Sehwag, though, pulled out.