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'Free ball' for bowlers: Check out Ashwin's suggestion

By HARISH KOTIAN
August 24, 2020 18:59 IST
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Ravichandran Ashwin

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin in action during the IPL last year. Photograph: BCCI
 

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin came up with an unique suggestion to stop batsmen from leaving their crease early, by awarding a 'free ball' for bowlers similar to the 'free hit' delivery which is given to batsmen when the bowlers overstep.

There has been a lot of debate on the controversial 'Mankading' mode of dismissal leading into the IPL, which begins in the UAE next month.

The dismissal mode is named after cricket legend Vinoo Mankad, who during India's tour of Australia in 1948, ran Bill Brown out at the non-striker's end after he backed up too far despite repeated warnings.

The Australian media, who were outraged with the mode of dismissal, called it 'Mankading' even though Don Bradman found the dismissal to be perfectly legal.

Playing for Kings XI Punjab, Ashwin triggered a huge controversy in last year's IPL when he ran out Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler on 69 while the batsman was backing up at the non-striker's end.

Ashwin whipped off the bails as Buttler stepped out of the crease instead of completing his delivery to the batsman on strike.

Kolkata Knight Riders Captain Dinesh Karthik on Monday said he finds it extremely unfair that the legendary Vinoo Mankad's name is used in a negative manner for a dismissal which is absolutely 'legal'.

'All the way from Don Bradman to Sunil Gavaskar, everyone has said it's completely within the rules. The ICC and MCC have also taken a stand that it is okay. So I don't see the reason why bowlers or any team that does it is looked at in a negative way,' Karthik said.

Ashwin said the administrators must come up with a new ruling wherein if the batsman at the non-striker's end leaves the crease before the ball is bowled, then the bowler should awarded a 'free ball'.

He suggested that if the batsman gets out off the 'free ball', then the batting side must be docked five runs.

'Make it a free ball for the bowler. If the batsmen get out of that ball, the batting team will be docked 5 runs. Free hit adds to the drama for a batter, let's give a chance to the bowlers too. As of now, everyone watches the game hoping that 'the bowlers will get smacked today',' Ashwin, who will play for the Delhi Capitals this season, tweeted.

Karthik also suggested that the TV umpire should be called in to check whether the batsman is backing up too far and if so then that particular run should be disallowed.

'If this is done just like a run out consistently, then obviously the batsmen will be even more careful and stop doing it,' Karthik said.

'But because it is not encouraged and looked at in a negative way, and people are doubted morally, the bowlers, the captains and the teams are scared of doing it more for the repercussions that anything else,' he added.

'Now there is technology for checking no balls. So use the camera, check if the non-striker leaves the crease early. Every time a batsman backs up early, all runs should be disallowed. Only a wicket should stand.'

Last week, Delhi Capitals Head Coach Ricky Ponting said he would speak to Ashwin on the issue, saying he is against 'Mankading' as he believes it against the spirit of the game.

'So, that's going to be a conversation and that's going to be a hard conversation I will have to have with him,' Ponting said, 'but I'm pretty sure he'll take it on the chin.'

'I think, even him, looking back now, probably he'd say it was within the rules and he's right to do it, but this is not within the spirit of the game, not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi Capitals anyway.'

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