With most of the cricket world coming down hard on West Indies U19 team’s “disgraceful” method of qualifying for the World Cup quarter-finals in their match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Indian spinner Ravi Ashwin has taken a firm stand in favour of the under-fire young Caribbean bowler Keemo Paul.
Zimbabwe needed only three runs in the 50th over with one wicket in hand for a place in the knockout round, until the bowler broke the stumps without entering his delivery stride as last man Richard Ngarava stood a few steps outside his popping crease, with his bat resting barely outside the line.
The dismissal was perfectly legal, but the softness of it in such a crucial time has made many hearts bleed for Zimbabwe’s exit.
The batsman had not been given any warning before the “Mankading”, but Ashwin feels the Windies bowler should be deemed a hero.
The act was done within the rules of cricket, as Ashwin said. He also said that the batsman would be deemed a hero for a last ball six and a bowler should not be deemed a villain for a similar act.
Not only satisfied at that, Ashwin went on a spree of tweets, explaining why he was in support of the West Indies’ act, and why he thought more bowlers around the world should be taking wickets by Mankading.
He said that Zimbabwe’s manner of exit was cruel, but that the last batsman should have made sure his bat was not out of the crease.
He also said since bowlers were not allowed to overstep, batsmen should not be allowed to gain an extra inch either.
“One ball six to win, batsman is a hero. Bowler with the presence of mind to do it and win a game for his team. Make him a hero, I say,” Ashwin tweeted.
On the matter of warning the batsman for Mankading, he replied that a batsman does not need to warn a bowler that he is going to hit him for a six.
New Zealand coach Bob Carter did not hold back in his criticism of West Indies: “Was the bowler actually in his delivery stride in the first place? He just ran through and knocked the stumps over, I don’t think he was ever going to bowl the ball. I was surprised that the umpires called for it to be reviewed. I thought they may choose to say, ‘No, the ball has to be bowled and it’s not out.’ And the final thing was, I thought, it was too tight to call. I think the batsman should have got the benefit of the doubt once it went to the third umpire. I wasn’t convinced that it should have been actually given out.
“I don’t think Mankading should be a part of the game at all. I think if you are in the spirit of the game, then why would you end up like this? There were two runs to win, you are playing and Under-19 World Cup, games are being beamed all around the world and to see that type of thing happen was very unsportsmanlike.
“Anyway, the Zimbabwe player wasn’t looking like he was trying to get advantage. If he was out, he was only just out. And I think he may not have been out anyway. So it wasn’t as if he was a metre down the pitch. It didn’t look like he was trying to take advantage.”