Every sport does have its own set of rules, but they don't cover all the aspects of the game, and this grey area is where the concept of sportsmanship comes into play.
This year's Indian Premier League has been off to a surprising start since the beginning. Beginning from Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) getting bowled out for 70 in the opening match, to Sunil Narine and Jasprit Bumrah getting injured in the following games.
And now, Monday's match between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) is the talk of the town for Ravi Ashwin's 'Mankading' incident.
Chasing a target of 184, RR were in a commanding position with Jos Buttler (69) striking the ball to all corners of Jaipur's Sawai Mansingh Stadium.
But in the 13th over, as Buttler was standing at the non-striker's end and had hardly been out of the crease (which all runners tend to do in order to complete the run more quickly), Ashwin indulged in an unlikely act not expected of international cricketers. He stopped in the middle of his bowling action, turned around, and knocked the bails right off the wickets next to him.
In the post-match conference, Ashwin did justify his action by saying “ It was not planned or anything like that, it is in the rule of the game and I don't know where the does the understanding of the spirit of the game comes in because quite naturally if it's there in the rules, it's there.”
The internet, however, took it with a grain of salt. This 'Mankading' infuriated cricket fans and experts alike, most notably the legendary Australian leggie Shane Warne, who is also the former coach of Rajasthan Royals.View this post on Instagram
A post shared by IPL (@iplt20) on Mar 25, 2019 at 12:49pm PDT
After the incident, Warne criticised Ashwin's act and called it a disgrace to the spirit of the game, stating: “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.”
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— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) March 25, 2019
This tweet invoked an unexpected response from noted cricket expert Harsha Bhogle, who shockingly supported Ashwin's claim.
*drum roll; grab your popcorn*
You're about to witness one of the most delicious Twitter battles.
Harsha you are missing the point completely & I'm disappointed in you as you always push the spirit of the game - now you condone this behaviour ? Ashwin's actions were simply disgraceful, and I hope the BCCI doesn't condone this sort of behaviour in the #IPL ! #spiritofthegame https://t.co/BsIKDBN51X— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) March 25, 2019
Harsha, if that had of been an international player you would have nailed him ! Please do not be bias & stick up for your own. Any player in the game that does that to anyone is an embarrassment to the game & as captain it's even more disgraceful ! #spiritofthegame ! https://t.co/4PqLL1MzBT— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) March 25, 2019
More importantly, the Indian fans, who usually tend to support a fellow countryman, asserted that the spirit of the game is kept intact. They believe, in this case, that there is no point of winning if you are not playing in the spirit of the game.
Here's how cricket fans around the world reacted to the 'Mankading incident:
Does a bowler get a warning for overstepping the mark? NO BALL every time. Batsmen get a free hit and the advantage of umpire going to DRS for no ball on dismissal. Stay in your crease or you'll be greased. Bravo!#luvthisgame #cricket #fairplay #evolving #sportsmanship https://t.co/DyOSvFXVrL— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) March 26, 2019
He ain't winning any spirit of cricket awards is old ashwin— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) March 25, 2019 March 25, 2019
Remember This Kid Who Was Mankaded By An English Cricketer Some Years Back... He Is Grown Up Now & Just Took His Revenge On An English Cricketer Tonight... #ashwin #AshwinMankads #josbuttler #RRvKXIP pic.twitter.com/9va7otRAqt— Siddhartha singh (@sid_varanasi) March 26, 2019
Ashwin runs his own cricket academy ... I wonder what his students are going to ask him ? And what will he tell them about that dismissal .. will he endorse it to his kids ? My dear budding cricketers don't do what #Ashwin just did !! #Buttler #AshwinMankads #RRvKXIP— Mikkhail Vaswani (@MikkhailVaswani) March 25, 2019
Yes warney !!
Well said ..
Harsha is always biased.
If same would have happened to virat Kohli by adamzampa in wcup semifinal ? What Harsha would have reacted !!!
Whose side are you on? Let us know in the comments section.