While the moaning and groaning surrounding the controversial two-run win by West Indies over Zimbabwe at Chittagong in Bangladesh on Tuesday to snatch a place in the quarter-finals of the ICC Under-19 World Cup continues, getting hold of the Playing Conditions was vital for any meaningful discussion.
A lot of emphasis has been placed on the fact that Keemo Paul effected what is referred to as Mankad to claim the last wicket – that of Richard Ngarava – with three runs needed off the final over.
This is how it was reported by ESPNcricinfo: “Paul ran through the bowling crease without entering his delivery stride and broke the stumps, catching the non-striker Ngarava with his bat on the line while he was standing a couple steps out of his crease.
“The two on-field umpires conferred before asking West Indies if they wanted to uphold the appeal, and once it was confirmed that they did, the third umpire was called in and found the batsman just on the line, ending Zimbabwe’s campaign in a game they had to win to make the quarter-final. The dismissal was within the rules of the game.”
Understandably, the smartness of pacer Paul to run out Ngarava for “easing out” of his crease as the bowler was about to deliver the first ball of the over, has taken centre-stage.
That cricket is a gentleman’s game will be preached by oldtimers and others who believe in ethics. In the face of both praise and criticism, the 17-year-old Paul was backed by his captain and fellow Guyanese Shimron Hetmyer, who said he was comfortable with the decision to appeal for the wicket.
“I would say yes, cricket is a game of uncertainties, we’ve seen it happen in cricket before, it’s not a big deal for us,” Hetmyer remarked.
The report went further. “Probably not,” said Hetmyer, when he was asked if he thought if it was in the spirit of the game.
His opposite number, a stunned Brandon Mavuta, repeatedly offered no comment on the mankad. “We got so close, no comment about it. I don’t have anything to say right now.”
Interestingly, according to an ESPNcricinfo poll, 63% still believe a mankad should not be attempted without prior warning, but only 13% oppose a mankad under any circumstances.
For those who are ignorant of why the term “Mankad” is used for such a dismissal, here we go: The most famous instance of this mode of dismissal came when Vinoo Mankad, an Indian, ran Bill Brown out in the Sydney Test in 1947-48. Mankad, in the act of delivering the ball, held on to it and whipped the bails off with Brown well out of his crease. There was a previous to this, as Brown had been similarly dismissed by Mankad earlier during the tour, too, in a match against an Australian XI, after having warned Brown that he was backing up too far. The dismissal got extensive coverage in the Australian press, with Mankad being accused of unsportsmanlike behaviour. The term “mankaded” caught on in the wake of the controversy.
So what does the regulation state re attempting to run out a non-striker before delivery?
According to the Under-19 World Cup 2016 regulations, Law 42.15 – Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery, Law 42.15 shall be replaced by the following: The bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to deliberately attempt to run out the non-striker. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one of the over. If the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.
Directive for umpires:
Law 42.15 – Previously, the bowler could only run out a non-striker backing up if he did so before he entered his delivery stride. This meant that as the bowler’s back foot landed, the non striker could move down the wicket a considerable way before the bowler actually delivered the ball. This was considered unfair. The new Playing Condition addresses this point.
The new Playing Condition provides that the bowler is permitted to run out the striker at any point before he releases the ball provided he has not completed his delivery swing.
Please note: If the bowler breaks the wicket in delivering the ball, and the non-striker is out of his ground when the wicket is broken, the umpire shall not view this as having been an attempt to run out the non-striker and play shall continue with Law 24.6 applying.
The umpires should note the following points in interpreting the new Playing Condition:
* A bowler should be deemed to have completed his delivery swing once his arm passes the normal point of ball release.
* The normal point of ball release should be interpreted as the moment when the delivery arm is at its highest point.
As this is a run out decision, the on field umpire can refer it to the 3rd umpire. The 3rd umpire must check whether the run out was affected before the bowler had passed his normal point of release or not, whether the batsman was out of his ground and whether the wicket has been fairly broken.
The new guideline for the on field umpire protocol when a bowler attempts to run out the non-striker before delivery is as follows:
* The umpire at the non-striker’s end must respond to the appeal in the normal way; signal out or not out, or refer to the 3rd umpire.
* If he is uncertain as to whether a run out was correctly effected, he is to consult with the 3rd umpire on all counts, including whether the wicket was broken correctly, the batsman was out of his ground and the bowler effected the run out prior to him releasing the ball. i.e. before the moment of his normal delivery release.
* There is to be no communication with the fielding captain, regarding the initial appeal
* The fielding captain is able to voluntarily withdraw the appeal if he so wishes, before the batsman has left the field of play, as per Law 27.8.
The PCT is instructed to discuss this protocol with the captains, coaches and managers at the pre-series meetings before each series.
It is possible that the two captains in a series might separately agree to give a first and final warning, if they so wish. This will not in any way affect the way the umpires rule on this matter, as with a warning there will be no appeal.
– If any member of the fielding side appeals, the on-field umpire will be duty bound to make a decision or commence a referral.
– Umpires may warn a non-striker if he is seen to be taking unfair advantage by moving too early down the pitch, similar to the warning a bowler might receive from the on field umpire should his front foot be creeping close to a no-ball.
Also note the reference to Law 42.2 “Umpires are the sole judges of fair and unfair play”.
Now let the arguments cease.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of the cricket Talk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email:Keithfholder@gmail.com.