To hell with the spirit of the game: Hardik Pandya on ‘Mankading’

DUBAI: “To hell with the spirit of the game, we need to stop making a fuss about this.” Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is very clear in his head how the run out of the batter, backing up far at the non-striker’s end should be perceived.
Once considered unfair play, although legal, in the gentleman’s game, the ICC has now termed these kind of dismissals as ‘run out’. Since October 1, it no longer sits in the ‘unfair play’ section of its rule book.
However, the debate continues if such dismissals are against the ‘spirit of game’.
“Personally, I have no problem with it (running out for backing up far at the non-striker’s end), said Pandya, who played a key role in India’s dramatic four-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their T20 World Cup opening match.
“If I am walking out (of the crease) and someone runs me out, that is my mistake. He (bowler who runs him out) is using the rule to his advantage, that is fine, that’s not a big deal,” he said in an ICC Review Podcast, recorded before the T20 World Cup.
The issue became a hot topic of discussion when Deepti Sharma ran out Charlie Dean at the non-striker’s end for leaving her crease too early and handed India a historic 3-0 clean sweep in women’s ODI series in England, last month.
Such run-outs are known as Mankading, harking back to the first such dismissal crafted by Vinoo Mankad when he ran out Bill Brown at the non-strikers end in this fashion twice in the 1947-48 Test series against Australia.
“We need to stop making a fuss about this (running out at non-striker’s end). It is a rule as simple as that. To hell with the spirit of the game,” Pandya said
He also said match-ups between particular opposing players do not work in the shortest format.
“Match-ups, honestly, they are over-rated. I don’t mind saying that. In Test and ODI cricket, it might work but I don’t believe it in T20 cricket. I am never worried about match-ups.
“For me match-ups do not work. Where I bat and the situations I get into, I don’t generally get the option of match-ups. It’s more of people who are batting at top-3 or top-4 who kind of get the chance to see all the bowlers bowling.
“For me specially, it is just the situation. There are times when a bowler whom I want to take on is bowling but if the situation does not demand I don’t take the risk because it is going to harm my team. I am never okay with that.”
Asked about his cricketing ambitions, Pandya said: “Something I have been focussing since I made a comeback on being the best version of myself, get the best out of me. I am running towards I won’t say greatness but running towards excellence.
“If I want to achieve something, it’s excellence. At the end of my career, if I sit down and if I have achieved excellence in one point in time, that will be okay.”

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