The whole debate over whether 'Mankading' a batsman is consistent with the 'Spirit of cricket' has returned with this type of dismissal once again rearing its head in the cricket world. During the quarterfinal of the ICC Under-19 World Cup between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a spinner from the former side dismissed a Pakistani batsman using this contentious method.
In the 28th over of the Pakistan innings, Afghan spinner Noor Ahmad ran in to bowl the fifth ball of the over but instead of going through with his action, he chucked the ball back on to the stumps as the Pakistan batsman Mohammad Huraira was well out of the crease.
Huraira was well set at the time of his dismissal and was batting on 64. His wicket was clearly a big setback for Pakistan. However, they managed to recover and eventually win the quarterfinal easily by six wickets and proceed to the semi-final stage where they will meet another sub-continental team India.
Four years ago, a similar controversy had erupted at the same event – then played in India. At that time, West Indian fast bowler Keemo Paul dismissed a Zimbabwean batsman to end the innings when the match was heading towards a tight finish. This time, the situation wasn't so tense but still, the incident has left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans and former cricketers.
Last year, a huge debate erupted over the Mankad dismissal after Ravichandran Ashwin of India 'Mankaded' Jos Buttler of England during an Indian Premier League (IPL) match. Ashwin was playing for Kings XI Punjab while Buttler was batting for Rajasthan Royals. Opinions were as divided on this mode of dismissal and its ethical validity as they are now.
The Afghanistan under-19 team's captain Farhan Zakhil was somewhat repentant after the incident and even went on to say that the decision to affect the dismissal was driven by the desperation to win.
"At that time, we realised let's do something different to build pressure on Pakistan. 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," Zakhil told ESPNCricinfo.
"If you want to reduce the pitch length to 16 or 18 yards, then you're creating a problem for us. If you want to make runs and rotate the strike, you must respect the opposition, which is why we went ahead. If we were winning, we probably wouldn't have done it," he added.
The batsman at the receiving end of this dismissal, Huraira, expressed his unhappiness but also accepted his own fault. "It was my first game in the World Cup, so a bit of a bitter experience. But I should've been in the crease, and I'll learn from the mistake. I'll ensure it isn't repeated again."
Many cricketers, both active and former, lashed out at Afghanistan team on social media. The most prominent name among them was England seamer Jimmy Anderson. "Can we sort out (remove) this law please?" Anderson asked on Twitter. He then responded to another user asking him why he thinks so by giving a detailed answer.
"I think 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," Anderson stated.
Another prominent voice on Twitter who criticised this tactic was John Etheridge, senior cricket journalist who writes for The Sun newspaper. He wrote: "And look at the way his team-mates run to congratulate him as though he's done something clever, skillful and honourable." This debate is bound to continue.