Chennai: Marylebone Cricket Club, keepers of the hallowed laws of the game, have come to a different conclusion after reviewing footage of the incident again. Short of calling the off spinner a ‘cheat’ they have said that his controversial dismissal of Jos Buttler was against “the spirit of the game”.
This is a conclusion many of us had come to after watching the delay in the action of ‘Mankading’ in which the bowler was well into his delivery stride when he stopped, waited for the non-striker to leave his crease and then effected the run out. He may have done so because Buttler is a habitual offender in stealing ground as observed in the first few balls of the same over. Even so, what Ashwin did seemed to go against the grain of sportsmanship.
Buttler was run out with the spinner pulling out of a delivery and removing the bails at the non-striker’s end while the England batsman was backing up. The tactic is well within the laws of the game and is a deterrent against non-strikers gaining an unfair advantage by stealing a few inches or feet in setting off for a run. However, the manner in which Ashwin stalled in his delivery and winkled him out was not appreciated.
MCC had originally cleared the occurrence while noting that the decision was a marginal call for the third umpire, Bruce Oxenford, because it was touch and go whether Buttler was out of his ground at “the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball”.
Fraser Stewart, the MCC’s laws manager, is said to have reviewed the footage further and declared Buttler was in his ground at the expected point of release but for a pause by Ashwin before the removal of the bails.
“Having extensively reviewed the incident again and after further reflection we don’t think it was within the spirit of the game,” Stewart told the Daily Telegraphin UK. “We believe the pause was too long between the time Ashwin reached the crease and the moment it was reasonable to expect the ball would be delivered. When Buttler could have reasonably expected the ball to be delivered, he was in his ground.
“It is also unfair, and against the Spirit of Cricket, for non-strikers to leave their ground too early. All these debates wouldn’t be necessary if non strikers remained in their ground until the ball is on its way down the pitch,” was the rider used by the official.
Where a hole could be picked in Ashwin’s argument was his action was “instinctive.” We would like to give him the benefit of doubt there as there was a pause in his bowling action that has now been adjudged to be against the spirit of the game and MCC is saying it.
Deccan Chronicle had called it that way after viewing the incident video a number of times and concluded that Ashwin’s action in this was just not cricket.