Former England star Mark Butcher has warned the “Mankad” revolution could result in “absolute carnage” at amateur level, predicting “there will be blood” this upcoming cricket summer.
After the Marylebone Cricket Club amended the Laws of Cricket last year, running out the non-striker during a bowler’s delivery stride has become an accepted practice among professional teams.
Last year, Deepti Sharma helped India secure a series whitewash over England after running out Charlie Dean at the non-striker’s end to win the third ODI at Lord’s.
Melbourne Stars captain Adam Zampa attempted the controversial run out during a Big Bash League match against the Melbourne Renegades earlier this month, while Pakistan teenager Zaib-un-Nisa went viral after running out Rwanda’s Shakila Niyomuhoza in a Under-19 Women’s T20 World Cup fixture over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Australian Test captain Pat Cummins has permitted his teammates to run out batters at the non-striker’s end if they warn the culprit beforehand.
But although professional teams are adopting the practice, thousands within the wider cricket community disagree on whether “Mankad” run outs are appropriate conduct.
“Anyone who pulls a ‘Mankad’ is a pathetic embarrassing d*****bag, rules or no rules,” television personality Pierse Morgan tweeted recently, a view that is still shared by many.
Butcher believes that in the amateur game, where matches are commonly self-officiated, the controversial act could spark punch-ups and violence throughout England this year.
“The other side to this is we’re looking at this very much through the prism of professional cricket,” Butcher told the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast.
“Or cricket that is subject at least to behavioural norms that comes with it being scrutinised by a worldwide audience.
“What is not being talked about is the effect that this is likely to have on village greens on Sunday afternoons up and down the country if this starts to become the norm.
“And you can argue until you’re blue in the face that it’s in the laws and you’re within your rights to do so. And I may have used this analogy before about something else, but it’s the idea that you’re absolutely within your rights to sleep with your best mate’s ex-wife minutes after they’ve split up, but don’t complain if you get punched in the face for it.
“I can just see absolute carnage happening up and down this land and many others if people start doing it as a matter of course in club games.
“Because there’s very little regulation in terms of people’s behaviour there and the game as it is played and has been played for years and years with guys umpiring their own players and that type of thing.
“The game has always been played on the basis that there will be a bit of good sportsmanship. Otherwise, we will not be sharing jugs in the bar, type thing. And if this starts happening up and down the land there will be blood – I’m telling you that now.”
Earlier this summer, footage circulated on social media of a cricketer attempting the controversial dismissal during a Victorian Sub-District Cricket Association match, with St Bernards Old Collegians paceman Kyle Adams whipping of the bails and appealing for a run out at the non-striker’s end.
Punches thankfully weren’t thrown, but the wicket prompted a heated argument on the boundary.
“You’re an embarrassment to subdistrict cricket,” someone yelled.
Another continued: “It’s in the rule books you d***head.”
Someone else declared: “F***ing s**t club if that’s f***ing acceptable.”
Marylebone Cricket Club, the sport’s custodians and lawmakers, sent a clear message to cricketers around the world following Sharma’s run out, which divided opinion.
“MCC’s message to non-strikers continues to be to remain in their ground until they have seen the ball leave the bowler’s hand,” the statement read.