Let me try to put in context the torched flame in the "spirit of cricket", which almost always is boundless and open to unbridled manipulation.

I'm talking about all those people who have taken umbrage at Kings XI Punjab bowler Ravichandran Ashwin whipping the bails off to dismiss incensed Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Butler, at the non-striker's end, during an Indian Premier League match in Jaipur last week.

Former Australia leg spinner Shane Warne and Kiwi seamer Mitchell McClenaghan have clobbered Ashwin on social media while former Black Caps cricketer-cum-commentator Scott Styris chose to lynch the TV umpire for doing his job according to the letter of the law.

I belong to the school of thought that Ravichandran "Mankad" was right in running out a jaywalking Buttler, which eventually culminated in the Kings captain helping secure victory, not that the result is relevant.


It's all about the principle in a summer code that has dogmatically drummed into bowlers the need to preserve the fabric of civility in a "gentleman's game".

What bollocks because, yet again, it must be presumed the benefit of doubt should always go to the batsman.

It smacks of a colonial hangover that can be tracked back to a batsman often touted as the "greatest-ever player", WG Grace.

Facing dismissals, the doctor ironically lacked grace in accepting his fate. The lanky, bearded one infamously refused to depart after a leg-before-wicket ruling, dismissively telling the bowler: "They came to watch me bat, not you bowl."

Bat on he disgracefully did. Grace, renowned for his lack of willingness to leave the batting crease until he felt it was his time, also got his comeuppance because not everyone entertained his bullying tactics.

Having lost a bail to a delivery, Grace quickly replaced it before telling the umpire: "Twas the wind which took thy bail off, good sir."

To which the umpire replied: "Indeed, doctor, and let us hope thy wind helps the good doctor on thy journey back to the pavilion."

Great? I rest my case.


That type of dismissal was named after India bowler Vinoo Mankad who sparked controversy when he executed it against Australia in 1947. Cricket laws consider it to be as legitimate as a conventional run out.

It takes me back to when I used to coach young boys and girls at primary/intermediate schools and age-group representative level at the annual Hawke's Bay Riverbend Cricket Camp more than a decade ago.

I recall it was customary for irritated bowlers, instinctively even at a pre-teen age, to whip the bails off gung-ho batsmen blatantly breaching the rules to gain an unfair advantage down the crease.

You see, it isn't just that extra stride the non-batter takes that makes a difference in batsmen sliding their bats to cut the chalk but also the ever-imposing mental distraction weighing down the bowlers.

Like it or not, it's hard to focus on the intricacies of line and length, as well as point of release of a delivery, when you can see some joker from the corner of your eye trying to blatantly cheat.

Yes, I did say cheat. It's no different to batsmen who knowingly feather a ball behind to the wicketkeeper or slips but, belligerently, stand their ground to see if the white coats will feel compelled enough to send them back to the changing sheds.

If Shane Warne wants to espouse on Ravichandran Ashwin's flaws as a captain then perhaps he should share his opinion on Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith as well. Photo/Photosport
If Shane Warne wants to espouse on Ravichandran Ashwin's flaws as a captain then perhaps he should share his opinion on Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith as well. Photo/Photosport

For that matter, as Warne will know quite well, batsmen are equally culpable when they look up from their crease at their teammates watching replays on digital screens to signal whether it's worth challenging an umpire's decision or not.

Any suggestions, as we used to do in the yesteryear, that bowlers and umpires should warn batsmen caught straying from the non-batter's end before any dismissals is a total cop out.

Conversely, you don't have umpires giving bowlers another chance to amend their ways when they have overstepped their mark in their run up or bounced a ball above the shoulders for no balls.

Frankly Buttler wasn't paying attention when he was a youngster or his coaches let him down big time although the mentors may well have done their jobs but the Englishman now thinks he's a law unto himself.

Those asserting the ball didn't leave Ashwin's hand so, therefore, it should be deemed a "dead ball" also are clutching at straws.

The intention of rolling one's arm begins from the second the bowlers start their run up and the non-batsmen start zipping into the main thoroughfare, so to speak, as motorists do when merging into traffic.

Again, for all sense and purpose, Buttler fell asleep behind the driving wheel.

If Warne wants to question Ashwin's credibility as captain then perhaps he may wish to share his opinion on Durham appointing disgraced Australia cricketer Cameron Bancroft their new captain.

Batsman Bancroft was caught pulling out sandpaper from his underpants to alter the state of the ball during the test series in South Africa last year. He has served a nine-month suspension from cricket despite his initially misleading account of events in Cape Town.

Mmm ... how quickly we tend to forgive batsmen and forget.

And don't get me started on the timely return of David Warner and another disgraced skipper, Steve Smith.