A couple of days ago, the cricket fraternity found itself split into two when Kings XI Punjab's captain Ravichandran Ashwin 'mankaded' Rajasthan Royals (RR) hitter Jos Buttler in an exciting matchup during the first week of the twelfth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
For the better half of RR's batting, it felt as if Jos Buttler was single handedly going to win the team's first match of the season as Punjab bowlers grew restless. Finally, in the 13th over, Ashwin did something cricketers from all around the world frown upon. Halfway into his bowling action, he stopped and hit the stumps at the non-striker's end to appeal for a run-out as Buttler was a step outside of the crease.
Cricketing fans from all over the world had some strong opinions about the incident.
People like Dale Steyn and Eoin Morgan were absolutely livid with Ashwin's actions, calling him out in public for his lack of sportsmanship, and of setting a bad example for the future generation of talented cricketers India will be producing in the coming years.
He ain't winning any spirit of cricket awards is old ashwin— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) March 25, 2019
On the other hand people came of Ashwin's rescue saying that whatever he did was not illegal and was well within the ICC rules of cricket and therefore should not be bashed so much. Former Test opener for the Indian side, Aakash Chopra even promoted the idea of more and more bowlers mankading after the match between Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.March 27, 2019
The issue snowballed into something so dramatic that legends of the game like Shane Warne and Harsha Bhogle indulged in an ugly Twitter battle as well.
Believe it or not but this isn't the first time Ashwin has 'mankaded' someone. Back in 2012 in an ODI match against Sri Lanka, Ashwin did the same to Lahiru Thirimanne.
However, back then the leadership of the roster was in the hands of legends like Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, who overruled Ashwin's appeal when asked by the umpires and asked the Sri Lankan batsman to return to the crease.
Such was the class with which the Men in Blue used to play the game. Players like Tendulkar, Sehwag and even MS Dhoni for that matter have grown as elite cricketers and respectful athletes who have the heart of a champion, sure, but did not settle to sell their morals in order to win a game.
The 'win at all costs' notion that has plagued sports in recent years has completely gone against the very ideals of sports. Discipline, honour, mutual respect, everything goes out of the window as soon as the greed of getting that extra number in the points table takes over.
What Ashwin did was well within the rules as Harsha Bhogle's gone on and on about in the past three days but would players like Tendulkar and Sehwag do something like this, or better yet, be proud of it? We think not.