All hell broke loose as soon as Deepti Sharma got Charlie Dean run out at the non-strikers end (Mankad). It felt like a deja-vu moment as some time ago R. Ashwin did the same to Jos Buttler.

She shouldn’t have done it. Do you see what she did? It indeed was so unethical, against the sprit of the game and extremely unfair. Do you agree?

I meant for Charlie Dean!!

She was taking an unfair offset of around 5 feets on a 22 yards pitch for each and every single she was running for the striker on the opposite side of the pitch. But for some reason, Deepti Sharma’s ethics are being questioned and Charlie Dean’s are not. Why?

She is overlooking a rule, not Deepti Sharma; but instead, Deepti Sharma is in the spotlight. Why?

Who is defining this spirit of the game? Who decides who is to be questioned and who is answerable to whom? Who is drawing these lines?

Social media? Twitter? Number of Likes? Money? Power? Mob? Looks? Popularity? ….?

Runouts of such kind may not be as glamorous as the spectators would want or as entertaining as they would want; but that does not make it unfair, unethical or against spirit of the game. Does it? As a matter of fact, Charlie Dean and all other players kill the spirit of the game by taking an undue advantage of a 5-6 feet offset. After all one of the many definitions of ethics and correct moral compass is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

I guess it is not the ethics or spirit of the game that was being hurt by Deepti Sharma, she killed the entertainment value of the game. The game reaching the last over would have been a thrill on another level.

Raining boundaries, sixes and fours is pure entertainment. Isn’t it? A massive total of 498 would be exceptionally entertaining. Wouldn’t it be?

England recently scored a whooping 498 (the highest in the history of One Day International) against the Netherlands. Jos Buttler, one of the finest batsmen in the world scored 162 runs off 60 balls with 14 sixes, against a very weak team that has never qualified for a world cup. It was unethical and immoral on part of England(ICC ODI Rank 1) to use its finest players against the Netherlands (ICC ODI Rank 15). There was no comparison between the two, the match would have been ethical and in the spirit of the game only if England had dropped players like Jos Buttler for that game, knowing that the team still would have way better chances to win. There is no rule that says the team should do that, but it is the spirit of the game, true sportsmanship. But, it wont be as entertaining as 26 sixes and 36 fours in one ODI. I don’t see any talk about the spirit of the game and sportsmanship here, do you?

Another scenario on the similar lines. A former English player, who played international cricket, one day felt like playing for his home club in Hampshire cricket league Division II and smashed 229, he scored 22 sixes and 16 fours against a team that was way below his caliber. Spirit? Sportsmanship?

I am not singling out England or English players, its just that I recently moved to England and started playing the very same Hampshire Cricket League Division III and these examples revolving around English Cricket are on the top of my head. I have absolutely no intentions to single out any person or team. Its same everywhere. When you know you can win easy, you don’t need to humiliate the opponent. Do you? According to me that’s against the spirit of the game. That’s probably why I always end up checking who the crowd’s favorite run scorer, scored most of his runs against. But people somehow don’t bother to hero worshipping somebody who scored runs against teams like Kenya and Zimbabwe etc.

Well directed bodyline bouncers are fancy, very deadly but entertaining. How about bowling bodyline bouncers to a No. 10 batsman or in other words bowling bouncers to a pure bowler? There is no rule for not doing it, and that is why ethics, moral compass and spirit of the game should come into play. Shouldn’t it? I will bring up another example. Saurav Ganguly, former Indian Captain had a weakness, which the entire world started exploiting and made the man quit: pitch it short, attack his body, make him hook or pull and vollah he stops scoring and sooner or later gift his wicket on a silver platter. He was a world class batsman. Now just imagine what would happen to a bowler facing a bodyline bouncer. That’s definitely not sportsmanship. But it sure is entertaining, there would definitely be some action!!

Sledging, one more example that I can think of. All sorts of slangs, racial slurs, abuses, so on and so forth have been a part of cricket for ages. Australia was once not only ruling the world of cricket by wining the world cups but also by sledging all the way through. There is no major rule stopping it but sledging to get the batsman agitated enough to make him throw away his wicket can not be sportsmanship. Its definitely against the spirit of the game. But it is for sure entertaining, isn’t it? We have stump mics recording played for the general public. Everyone enjoys that, there are memes on those conversations.

Sports is a business also. There is no doubt about it and I have no issues with it. But I have issues, when entertainment starts taking precedence over ideas like “the spirit of the game”, sportsmanship and ethics. Simply because they are not good for that particular sports in this case Cricket. The thing is entertainment brings money for some. Had this “mankad” not happened, the game was expected to be stretched by several more overs, more advertisements, more business and more money. It is not at all about England winning or India winning, its about the business. T20 is much more entertaining then ODI; is good for business; but is it also good for Cricket? Slogging is not Cricket!! Mankad is a not a threat to integrity or the spirit, but it for sure is a threat to entertainment and in turn business.

Thank you for reading the article, if you find any merit in it please do share it with your friends arguing why mankad is against the spirit of the game. And don’t forget to follow the blog.

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