Earlier this week Sri Lankan bowler Sachithra Senanayake “Mankaded” English batsman Jos Butler and the whole of world cricket went completely mental.
Traditionally, while legal, the act of Mankading is seen to be in violation of the “spirit of the game”, and those four words tend to bring out the best of the best and the worst of the worst when it comes to cricket related debates (just ask Ian Bell).
I, for one, don’t really have an opinion on this particular run out* – as I support neither England nor Sri Lanka – but I will say that it was a legal maneuver on Senanayake’s part and until the law is changed, everyone should just get on with the game – and quit backing up in the meantime.
However, off the pitch, I love it when this kind of thing happens and we all get to talk about it for a few days. It’s these bizarre intricacies of this weird little game that – at the end of the day – keep us coming back for more. Making Mankading illegal maybe would shut everyone up, but it would kill off a little bit of cricket’s soul – a little bit of its spirit, if you will – and I think that would be the real shame here.
Jos Butler’s wicket is worth the sacrifice.
And debating the “spirit of the game” – and whether or not it’s being upheld or pissed on or both - is way better than talking about spot fixing, doping or any of the other actually really horrible parts of the game.
In baseball, they have outlawed the always controversial home plate collision, and I gotta say that while the game might be safer and mildly less contentious, it’s also 10% less interesting, and 10% more sterile.
Cricket has been castrated enough as of late, no reason to cut anymore.
*I actually do have an opinion: Butler was being lazy and England batted poorly. That’s what cost them the match. Not ICC playing regulation 42-11.