Yesterday, another Mankading incident rocked the cricket world. During the quarterfinal of the ICC Under-19 World Cup between Pakistan and Afghanistan, a bowler from the latter team – Noor Ahmed – Mankaded Pakistan batsmen Mohammad Huraira when he walked out of the crease before the delivery was bowled.
This cast every cricket fans' mind back to last year's Indian Premier League (IPL) where a similar controversy had taken place when Kings XI Punjab's Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler in a similar fashion. However, while Afghanistan under-19 team's captain Farhan Zakhil repented his team's action, Ashwin continues to maintain he did nothing wrong.
Some days after Ashwin's Mankading of Buttler in IPL, English fast bowler James Anderson had taken a picture of the Indian off-spinner and shredded it in response to the incident. Not surprisingly, Anderson and Ashwin again got active on Twitter in reaction to the latest Mankading incident and had a go at each other.
It began with James Anderson who expressed his unhappiness over this incident and wrote: "Can we sort out (remove) this law please?" and followed it up with another statement: "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."
Ashwin then dived into this debate and responded to Anderson's comments by writing: "Law removal might need some deliberation!! A Shredder might do the trick for now," a clear reference to Anderson's actions last year in the wake of the Mankading controversy.
But Anderson wasn't going to stay quiet. He then sent his own reply. "I wonder why Ravi wants the law to stay! #lovesamankad." Some time later, Ashwin then provided a rejoinder. "I am not taking the bait mate, my point was about the usefulness of a shredder and not the run out."
The good thing is that this entire conversation seems to be going on in a light-hearted tenor. Both men are using funny emojis along with the text of their comments. But the issue is serious. While Ashwin remains defiant about his decision to Mankad Buttler, many Indian cricketers, and even more foreign ones, are not big fans of this mode of dismissal.
Shane Warne had heavily criticised Ashwin for doing what he did. Many also came down heavily on the Afghanistan team for their actions. The captain of the Afghan team complicated matters by himself admitting that he wouldn't have gone ahead with this tactic had his team been winning. This is a polarizing issue and would remain so in times to come.