So you've heard that Deepti Sharma ran-out Charlie Dean at the non-striker's end and the cricket world is eating itself alive. But not everyone quite understands the issue, or the outrage it has generated. Perhaps you are new to the game and have not quite clocked its traditions. Maybe you are just a casual viewer and are just checking in because of the drama. Or perhaps you are an ardent follower of the sport for many years and are merely a good old-fashioned dumbass.
Don't worry. We've got all the above categories covered. This is the Briefing's 100% helpful explainer.
So what exactly is a Mankad dismissal?
When in 1947, an India Hall of Fame allrounder ran-out an Australia opening batter at the non-striker's end, cricket writers scrambled to come up with new terminology to describe the dismissal. Though unhappy that this was not as simple a task as when Trevor Legbeforewicket rapped a batter on the pads for the first time, eventually they settled on Mankad based on acronyms - MANufacturing Krazy Arguments on Twitter (olde English was in use in the 1940s, so crazy was spelt with a K and Twitter with a D).
At the time there didn't seem to be that much controversy around it, but in later decades it became a huge deal for absolutely no good reason.
Is it okay to even call it a Mankad?
Vinoo Mankad's (he changed his name to celebrate his most famous dismissal; editors, please fact-check this scrupulously) family has said they would prefer cricket media to not use the former player's name to describe it, because of the negative connotations attached to the act in some parts of the world. In response, some have suggested the dismissal be named after Bill Brown, the batter who brought the dismissal upon himself by straying out of his crease too early.
"Jos Buttler browns himself at the IPL, once again."
Who could possibly object?
Are they legal?
They were always legal. They've never not been legal. And over the past 15 years, the ICC's cricket committee has actually made the playing conditions relating to such dismissals less ambiguous, making them - this is the technical term - Super Duper Legal.
On top of which, Dean had been chronically leaving her crease in this innings, as this Twitter thread shows.
So doesn't this make people who complain about such dismissals whiny little babies?
Whoa. Those are your words, not mine.
What about the spirit of cricket then?
As the Briefing comes from one of cricket's party islands, the only spirit of cricket we recognise is arrack. If you're from one of the other party islands, rum works just as well.
But isn't it weird that the England cricket establishment, which seems to cling hardest to the idea of the spirit of cricket, and appears to package its own moral outrage about a perfectly legal cricketing act as some form of elite sporting ethics, expects people who came up through completely different cricketing cultures to subscribe to their very specific unwritten code that no one else has agreed to?
Wow, please stop trying to smuggle your political cricket opinions into this very serious and respectable column.
Is it good that women's cricket is getting this kind of attention?
A triumph. A testament to the hard work and dedication of so many, over several decades, that women's cricket can now generate a controversy almost as dumb and toxic as the men's game frequently does.
Now that this hyper-educational piece has made us super woke about the subject, what can we do to normalise these dismissals?
If you're playing gully cricket, make sure you have a set of stumps at the non-striker's end to make running out the non-striker easier. In school cricket matches, have cover or midwicket fielders constantly keep an eye out for batters creeping out of their crease. In club games, run out non-strikers ruthlessly, and then warn them after the fact just to rub it in that you are completely allowed to follow this nonsensical sequence.
And at home, where so many foundational values are learned, Mankad your kids the moment they get out of bed every morning.
Next month on the Briefing:
- Australia categorically reject all other versions of the spirit of cricket and instead proffer a gumboot brimming with the "bogan moonshine of cricket".
- "We're not just a Guinness country." Ireland annoyed at being treated like minnows on the whole spirit thing.