Is Jos Buttler asking for a mankad?

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Jos Buttler (via YouTube)

Remember when R Ashwin mankadded Jos Buttler? Here’s the footage.

There are two ways of looking at the incident.

(1) You look at that delivery in isolation and you try and work out whether it was a legitimate dismissal or not. Many people are doing this. Lots of the analysis begins with the word “technically” and we honestly can’t help but hear it in the voice of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

(2) You ask why it happened to Jos Buttler. Again.

Back in 2014, Sri Lanka’s Sachithra Senanayake made as if to mankad Buttler but pulled out of actually doing so. The message was clear: “Stop wandering halfway down the pitch before I’ve bowled the ball. You’re taking the piss.”

Buttler continued ambling down the pitch and so a few balls later Senanayake mankadded him for real.

This is what the mankad is for. It’s a deterrent. It deters batsmen from turning a 22-yard single into a 15-yard single. And to work as a deterrent, it does actually have to be deployed every once in a while.

All the same, it’s very rare. The fact that Jos Buttler has now been mankadded twice is therefore striking. As the old saying goes: Mankad me once, shame on you. Mankad me twice, shame on me.


We didn’t see the lead-up to Ashwin’s mankad and most reports are rather overlooking it in favour of “technically…” But the context is surely what matters most.

Is Jos Buttler a mankad candidate? Is he quite often just asking to be mankadded?

It is rare for a mankad to come out of the blue. Ashwin himself says it was “pretty instinctive” but why was it in his head to even try it? Had he noticed Buttler wandering out of his ground before the ball was delivered a few times already and grown irritated?

If it was just a one-off move that came out of the blue, it’s not a particularly good look for Ashwin because that particular delivery wasn’t a really clear-cut case of the batsman walking miles down the pitch, smug in the knowledge that he is inexplicably protected by ‘the spirit of the game’.

It was marginal and marginal crease departures are often the times when bowlers choose to ‘warn’ batsmen. In short, if you’re going to mankad someone, you’re probably going to get shit for it, so at least try and pick a moment when it’s really clear cut.

If it wasn’t a one-off move that came out of the blue, we’re a lot more sympathetic to Ashwin and a lot less sympathetic to Buttler. Sure, on this particular delivery the batsman didn’t seem to have committed any major piss-takery, but if he’d left his crease early a few times leading up to his dismissal then that’s cheating and tough shit.

But like we say, we didn’t see the context. All we can do is ask the question again: Is Jos Buttler quite often just asking to be mankadded?


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  1. While I think yesterday’s dismissal was not legal, and all the fault lies with Bruce Oxenford as 3rd umpire, what I don’t understand is the hue and cry, and the need to warn regardless of the context. Whether it was a one – off or not shouldn’t matter, stumpings are often one – off, I like to look at this as a bowler’s stumping. They strengthened the law recently to emphasise this PoV.

    1. Yup. If a batsman is running and short of his ground, the fielder doesn’t just hold the ball by the stumps saying ‘naughty, don’t try that again’.

    1. That’s bollocks, I am afraid. Those pics are not “clearly” anything other than backing up like a cricketer should. As the guy enters his delivery stride – and is therefore committed to bowling – you trail your bat out of the crease and look for a run. If you’ve still got your bat behind the line when the bowler actually releases the ball, you’re not playing the game properly.

      1. It is the batsman’s duty to back up
        But he should also watch the ball

        In this case Buttler is guilty of not watching the ball

  2. So, was he right or was he wrong? I don’t come here for questions, I come here for hasty judgements.

    Anyway, this is clearly a mess. The one thing the rules are supposed to do is provide certainty, and yet even as Ashwin is saying that the Spirit of Cricket doesn’t apply here, you can tell from his manner that he thinks it does. So if the rules can’t provide certainty even to the person doing the cheating, some other method is required.

    The answer is simple. The non-striker should be put into a cage, with the door latch triggered by the ball being released from the bowler’s hand. Obviously the bowler would need to wear some sort of Wi-Fi glove to make this possible. Although when I think about it, Wi-Fi could be hacked by Middle Eastern betting syndicates, so the glove would need to be wired to the cage. So the non-striker would remain inside the cage, and thus definitively in his ground, until the opportunity for Mankadding had passed. Once released, he would be free to run as fast as he wants to, in whatever direction. There’s no rules about that.

    As well as solving this problem once and for all, the cage method would also provide the public school educated English commentators with a gold-trimmed opportunity to say “like greyhounds in the slips” at every delivery.

  3. I’m in two minds about this. On the one hand, I like a good mankading because it leads to a lot of discussion, on the other hand, the discussion gets repetitive quickly and I don’t really follow it.

  4. Having watched the footage I have two observations on this:

    1. Hasn’t Jos Buttler got a shiny pink helmet!

    2. The stumps light up when the bails come off. That’s weird. It’s kind of cool. I think. Or is it? Maybe I don’t like it. I’m unsure.

  5. Definitely asking for it. The explanatory notes around the law make it perfectly clear:
    “…, the Law emphasises the importance of the non-striker remaining in his/her ground until the ball is released…”.

    The spirit of cricket seems to be interpreted to mean it’s fine for a player to cheat as long as they have a bat in their hand. Often this interpretation is provided by the kind of grubs who hit the ball to the fielder and then refuse to leave the field unless forced by the umpire, or consistently lead out before the ball is released.

    We need to see more of this sort of dismissal until the soft batsmen who think they own the game get the message and remain in their crease until the ball is actually released.

  6. KC, I don’t quite understand what you mean by “If it was just a one-off move that came out of the blue, it’s not a particularly good look for Ashwin”

    Why not? The laws of the game do not require you to keep track of whether a non-striker is out of their crease on a regular basis before you can run them out. You can do it the first time you notice it.

    It is entirely possible that Ashwin noticed Buttler leaving his crease and was at a point in his run up/delivery stride where he could stop and run him out.

    There is generally a point of no return in the bowler’s delivery stride, where he/she can no longer bring their arm back down to run out the non-striker without passing the point where they would usually release the ball. You should, ideally, not leave your crease before that happens, and you’ll never be run out in this fashion.

    I don’t even see a point of discussion here. If enough of the people that frame the laws of the game feel that this shouldn’t be a method of dismissal, then the law should be changed. Going after a bowler for doing what he/she is allowed to under the rules of the game is ridiculous.

    1. Imo, this post is more about Buttler, rather than the rights and wrongs of Ashwin’s actions

      Ashwin played hard but fair

      Buttlet head butted against the boundaries of what is acceptable and ended up on the wrong side of the line

      1. Well, KC talks about warning the batsman in the ‘Context’ section.

        Under the laws,
        18.3.2 Although a short run shortens the succeeding one, the latter if completed shall not be regarded as short. A striker setting off for the first run from in front of the popping crease may do so also without penalty.

        So Buttler wasn’t cheating.

        41.16 Non-striker leaving his/her ground early
        If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one in the over.

        Ashwin wasn’t either. I don’t see why Buttler has a problem with it. It’s as bad as having a problem with a spinner bowling you around your legs…

      2. Aditya, I agree almost entirely with your point of view. But, technically, on this particular occasion ( à la Ged), because Ashwin waited for Butler to step out, he was past the ‘instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball’. Instant – point in time, not point in space. So Butler was right to be peeved, Ashwin was within his rights to appeal, and Bruce Oxenford should have sorted it out by knowing his Laws. But yes, all batsmen deserve to be Mankaded till they learn to stick to the crease, one-off or not.

      3. Ameya, the three photos that KC has linked from Twitter? That’s where he’s in a position where he is about to release the ball. That’s the point at which he can no longer bring his arm back down to effect a dismissal without going through his bowling action.
        What Ashwin did is entirely within the rules.

  7. I think cricket has a weirdly anachronistic, almost Victorian attitude to this Mankad business. Take the baseball example — stealing bases and tagging a stealer out is part of the game. It adds another dimension of interest to it.

    Mankading is in the rules of cricket, and it’s a perfectly legitimate way of getting a batsman out. If it started happening more, it would enforce batsmen staying in the crease and watching the ball until it is delivered.

  8. I don’t mind mankading in general. I’m fine with batsmen being caught out for risking those few feet of advantage.
    I do mind this particular mankading, because he wasn’t punishing Buttler for leaving his crease, he was inducing him to leave his crease, then running him out.
    If that ain’t against the laws, it should be.

  9. Norcross and Church had a measured debate on the subject while commentating in Dubai today. With all that sand flying around over there I was thinking thank goodness there isn’t some way of fixing that sand to paper.

  10. I think that all bowlers should try and mankad as often as possible so it just becomes a normal dismissal and we can laugh at batsmen getting caught instead of having stupid “spirit of cricket “ discussions.

    1. Gin, I’d have thought. (I personally don’t like whisky, so there’s that, I suppose)

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