Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler was run out by Kings XI Punjab bowler R. Ashwin in an IPL game in Jaipur during the 2019 season. Buttler wandered out of his crease at the non-striker’s end before Ashwin had delivered the ball. The India off-spinner proceeded to take the bails off, in a hugely controversial form of dismissal colloquially known as the ‘Mankad’.
The name is derived from the great Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, who famously ran out Australia’s Bill Brown in this fashion in the Sydney Test in 1947.
What do the current laws say?
The provision to run the non-striker out is clearly laid out in the Laws of Cricket.
The ‘Mankad’ is a thoroughly fair, legal act, as even Don Bradman, who was captain of that Australian team in 1947, insisted back then.
Law 38.3, which pertains to the “Non-striker leaving his/her ground early,” states: “At any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground.”
Have there been any prior changes made to the law?
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the Laws, has tweaked the Mankad rule and changed its wording over the years.
In the 2017 Code, “Bowler attempting to run out non-striker before delivery” was replaced with “Non-striker leaving their ground early” in order to put the “onus on the non-striker to remain in their ground.” To emphasise this point further, on April 1, 2019, the MCC slightly rephrased Law 41.16 again, replacing “the bowler is permitted to run [the non-striker] out” with “the non-striker is liable to be run out.”
Also changed in 2017 was another important aspect of the law. Previously, the bowler was only permitted to run out a non-striker backing up before entering his delivery stride. “This meant that as the bowler’s back foot landed, the non-striker could move down the wicket a considerable way before the bowler actually delivered the ball. This was considered unfair,” notes the International Cricket Council Match Officials’ Almanac 2017-18 (the ICC’s interpretation of the Laws). The new playing condition permitted the bowler to run the batsman out “at any point before he releases the ball provided he has not completed his delivery swing.”
MCC, in October 2022, moved to de-stigmatise non-striker run-outs.
What’s new with the Mankading law?
The latest change, however, came about in January, when the MCC conceded there was some ambiguity in the law regarding running out a batter at the non-striker’s end and added that it was changing its wording to remove confusion.
“The current wording led some to think that if the non-striker left his/her ground before the expected moment of release, then the run out could happen at any moment, even after the bowler had gone through the bowling action. That was never the intention of this Law, nor the way it was ever interpreted by MCC.
“It is important to note that this does not change the way the Law should be interpreted -- it has been interpreted that way for the past six years, without much misunderstanding. However, the intention is that this (change of wording) will make things clearer,” said the statement.