On Saturday, India’s Women’s team scripted history by defeating England by 16 runs in the third ODI at Lord’s and scooping a 3-0 series victory. But the roaring triumph was pockmarked by a so-called controversial incident, which exposes the hypocrisy of English cricketers.
In the 44th over of England’s innings, India’s off-spinner Deepti Sharma ran out England’s Charlie Dean at the non-striker’s end, who was well out of the crease, to seal the win. Chasing 169, England needed 17 runs off 39 balls with just one wicket in hand when Deepti decided to run Dean out.
Her action sparked a needless controversy as many English commentators and former England players launched a vituperative diatribe against Deepti for acting against the ‘spirit of the game”.
The moment when Deepti Sharma sealed the match for India. pic.twitter.com/gqQtJjdMGJ
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) September 25, 2022
Just last week, the ICC officially legitimised this mode of dismissal and took it out of a section under ‘unfair play’ in its rule book. “The act of running out the batter at the non-striker’s end by the bowler while running up – often called ‘Mankading’ – has been moved from Law 41 – Unfair Play to Law 38 – Run-out,” the ICC said in a statement.
The ‘Mankading’ is named after the legendary Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, who was the first player to run a batter out for backing up too far in a Test match against Australia in 1948.
Will never understand why players feel the need to do this. Is she stealing ground? pic.twitter.com/KJi1Rgzmdi
— James Anderson (@jimmy9) September 24, 2022
After the third umpire upheld the original decision, Dean threw her bat to the ground in disgust and broke into tears. The crowd at Lord’s also began booing the Indian team.
But the Indian captain, Harmanpreet Kaur, doggedly held her own when asked about the incident at a post-match presentation. “I thought you would ask about the first 9 wickets. They were not easy to take either, but I back my team. We did nothing wrong as the action by Deepti was in sync with the law and we will do it again if needed,” she firmly asserted.
A host of English cricketers, such as Stuart Broad and James Anderson, took to Twitter and questioned Deepti’s actions. Famous journalist Piers Morgan called it “a pathetic way to win the match”.
— Cric (@Ld30972553) September 24, 2022
All such unwarranted flak directed at her is utter ignorance at best and rancid hypocrisy at worst. When the act of ‘Mankading’ has now been accorded legitimacy by the ICC, how can it be against the spirit of the game?
Secondly, to blame a bowler for running out a batter at the non-striker’s end who is trying to gain an unfair advantage by slipping out of the crease is astonishingly ludicrous. The batter galloping out of the crease even before the ball is bowled to garner unjust benefit is the one who must be berated.
It is also stinkingly hypocritical that someone like Broad must be talking about the ‘spirit of the game’. In 2013, in an act of brazen temerity, Broad stood his ground even after smashing the ball to the first slip in a Test against Australia at Trent Bridge.
The umpire, Aleem Dar, failed to make a correct judgement, but Broad shamelessly refused to walk. In the end, the umpire’s mistake and Broad’s temerity cost Australia the Test by 14 runs.
— LSG 🏏 (@PeterParker7194) September 24, 2022
There are umpteen examples of England cricketers indulging in flagrant chicanery on the ground – from refusal to walk after being cleared out to claiming dropped catches – but they are the first to raise their voices against those who are playing within the purview of the law.
Such despicable and relentless hypocrisy reeks of a colonial hangover, which still seems to pervade their mindset. The abhorrent sense of entitlement blunts their gumption and fairness. They not only operate with impunity and consider themselves above reproach, but their deeply-seated racism also compels them to ridiculously lambaste those who they think aren’t from ‘first-world nations’.
Well done, Deepti Sharma. You did the right thing. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
And well done, Team India 😊😇 The sweet taste of a clean sweep on English soil. Brilliant. 😊🤩
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) September 24, 2022
Respected former cricketers like Wasim Akram and Michael Holding have already spoken extensively about their putrid mindset, which manifests even on the cricketing field.
Thankfully, Deepti also received unremitting support from a galaxy of Indian players such as R Ashwin and Aakash Chopra, among others. Even noted commentator Harsha Bhogle also threw his weight behind Deepti and lauded her.
‘Mankading’ has always been a supremely tendentious and polarising issue as it fell in the grey area, but with the ICC formally legalising it, all these noises against Deepti are inanely ho-hum.