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My two cents on Buttler-gate

Though I regularly visit Island Cricket, since it’s the only SL cricket-dedicated website around, I logged in to my account just today to post a comment. While doing so, I saw my last blog post and realized that it had been made exactly 3 days before I left for the Maldives, where I started off my work career and, since then, I must have made only a few posts on my personal blog, and nothing on IC, so I thought it might be a good time to re-start, considering that there’s plenty to write about in SL cricket.

Enough has been said on “Mankading” and “Buttler-gate”. Jos Buttler was out of his crease, possibly to get a head-start on some crucial runs, and was run-out by Sachithra Senanayake.

However, I’ve just caught up on a particular fact that seems to have been left out amongst all the hulabaloo. Many, including Michael Vaughan, who has become something of a comedy-piece amongst Sri Lankans, were pushing their “Spirit of Cricket” argument in everyone’s faces by saying that Buttler didn’t appear to be attempting to actually take a run, and that he was being dozy.

To date, Buttler has not come out and said that he actually WASN’T attempting a run. In fact, even when he was given out by the umpire, he simply walked off without uttering a single word. Even during his walk back to the pavilion, he didn’t seem to be angrily nodding his head or muttering under his breath (common reactions which are seen in batsmen who feel that they have been wrongly given out).

So what does this tell us?

It tells us that Buttler was actually trying to run, as well-renowned commentator Harsha Bhogle very correctly said, short singles.

It tells us that he knowingly tried to cheat when batting that day, and, if what Mahela Jayawardena said after the match is correct, during the previous match during his maiden hundred.

So why are some still trying to cast “Sachi” as the villain?

Is it wrong to deter someone from cheating by punishing the offender for doing so?

Murali Karthik, the former Indian spinner, who is famous for having “Mankaded” Surrey batsman Alex Barrow in a county match a few years ago after having warned him 3 times, as well as last year, when he did the same to Bengal batsman Sandipan Das in a Ranji Trophy match after having warned him 2 times, said, in response to the Sachi incident, “[In life], do we allow people to steal? Do we condone it? We don’t”. It’s as simple as that.

It is also worth recalling the words of Dan Brettig, an Australian reporter for Cricinfo, who, when writing about “Mankading” last year, compared the non-striker drifting out of his crease to a batsman going down the ground to hit the ball but missing it and getting stumped. In both occasions, the batsmen are out of the crease, but, neither do you see the umpire asking the fielding captain whether he really wants to appeal for the stumping, nor do you see the grumpy old-world Englishmen moan about it.

Let’s make it simple.

A bowler rarely gets any significant advantage from overstepping his crease by a marginal inch, but, nevertheless, the umpire doesn’t consult anyone before making the bowler bowl an extra ball, penalize the fielding team a run AND give the batsman an “immortality card” for the next ball.

Therefore, why does the non-striker get special treatment when he is punished for being out of his crease before the bowler has completed his delivery stride? There isn’t the smallest morsel of rationality that could explain this.

Note: All like/hate comments are welcome. Feel free to share your opinions on the topic, or on the quality of this post.

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