Australian spin legend and Rajasthan Royals brand ambassador Shane Warne has come down heavily on Ravichandran Ashwin for 'Mankading' Jos Buttler in an Indian Premier League match here, calling his action "disgraceful" and against the spirit of the game.
The incident happened on Monday night when a desperate Kings XI Punjab skipper Ashwin ran out Rajasthan Royals' Buttler, who was at the non-strikers' end, without giving him any warning while bowling the 13th over of the match.
Buttler was going strong at 69 off 43 balls and Rajasthan steady at 108-1 while chasing 185 but the dismissal proved to be a game-changer and Kings XI eventually defeated the Royals by 14 runs.
Informally named after the legendary Vinoo Mankad, who first did it in 1947 against Australia, 'Mankading' is when a bowler dismisses a non-striker by removing the bails in the process of delivering the ball with the batsman outside the crease. Though this is a legally permissible dismissal, it is widely considered against the spirit of the game.
A livid Buttler had a heated exchange with Ashwin before leaving the field and the incident sparked the 'Spirit of Cricket' debate.
"So disappointed in @ashwinravi99 as a Captain & as a person. All captains sign the #IPL wall & agree to play in the spirit of the game. RA had no intention of delivering the ball - so it should have been called a dead ball. Over to u BCCI - this a not a good look for the #IPL," Warne wrote in his Twitter handle.
"Ashwin's actions were simply disgraceful, and I hope the BCCI doesn't condone this sort of behaviour in the #IPL ! #spiritofthegame."
"As Captain of your side - you set the standard of the way the team wants to play & what the team stands for ! Why do such a disgraceful & low act like that tonight ? You must live with yourself & FYI - it's to late to say sorry Mr Ashwin. You will be remembered for that low act," he wrote.
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which is the custodian of cricket laws, had made subtle changes to the rules on running out of non-strikers by bowlers in their run-up in 2017. The law gives bowlers the right to run out the non-striker up to the instant at which they "would be expected to deliver the ball".
However, Warne said what Ashwin did was embarrassing.
"And to all the people (including ex players) saying it's in the laws of the game, but you don't like what he did & you wouldn't do it - I ask you this "why wouldn't you?" ! Simple answer - it's disgraceful and embarrassing plus it's against the spirit of the game !," he wrote.
Warne also tagged India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in his tweet, asking if people would have supported this act if Kohli was at the receiving end from England's Ben Stokes.
"Sorry - one more thing to add. If Ben Stokes did what Ashwin did to @imVkohli it would be ok ? I'm just very disappointed in Ashwin as I thought he had integrity & class. Kings lost a lot of supporters tonight. Especially young boys and girls ! I do hope the BCCI does something," he wrote.
The man who originally did it was criticised for his action but Mankad had received support from an unlikely source – batting great and then Australian captain Sir Don Bradman.