ENGLAND v INDIA: 3rd ODI – Mankad!

It was a record-breaking day for women’s sport in North London – over at the Emirates stadium in Highbury 47,000 watched Arsenal smash their local rivals Tottenham 4-0 in the Women’s Super League; whilst here in St John’s Wood 15,000 were at Lord’s to see England nearly pull off a miracle in the 3rd and final ODI versus India.

It was a hard-fought game of cricket, with some fantastic bowling from players on both sides, but it will really only be remembered for one thing: the mankad which ended the match.

My view is that it was within the rules, and should have been given out. Although the law as it currently stands is intended to prevent “fake bowling” the wording is simply that the batter must be out of her crease at the moment the ball would have been bowled, and Charlie Dean was (just) out of her crease when Deepti Sharma mankaded her.

But I think it was a terrible moment for Charlie Dean… a terrible moment of cricket… and actually a terrible moment for Deepti.

Let’s begin with the last of those. Deepti has probably severely damaged what’s left of her career. In the short term, who of the England players will want to play franchise cricket with her ever again now? In the longer term, that moment will follow her everywhere – it will be the only thing anyone ever talks about. And I can’t believe for one moment that’s what she’d want her legacy to be – an underhand piece of gamesmanship in a match which in the greater scheme of things really didn’t matter, as India had already won the series, and almost certainly will finish the ICC Championship qualifying easily, with or without those 2 points.

It won India the game, but in Jhulan Goswami’s last ever match, where she’d been given an unprecedented guard of honour onto the field by the England players, it finished with her being booed off the ground at the end. That’s what she’ll remember from her last ever international. What a pity.

Of course, many are defending the mankad, because it was “within the laws” but actually that doesn’t make it the right way to win a cricket match. After all… bodyline was “within the laws”.

I always liked football blogger Arseblog’s take on this kind of thing: If it was done to your team, how would you feel? I think it is pretty safe to say that most India fans would have been up in arms if England had done it to Smriti earlier in the day, for example.

The issue I have with the mankad is that it isn’t skill, or even luck – it is pure trickery and gamespanship. Deepti has form on pushing the laws like this – she frequently pulls out of her bowling action at the very last moment. The bowler is permitted to do this when they are distracted, or the batter moves; but Deepti does it to try to gain an unfair psychological advantage by unsettling the batter. The mankad at Lord’s was from the same playbook – it was (just-about) not “fake bowling” – I’m not accusing her of that – but it was as close to that line as it is possible to get.

I’ve also seen a few ex-players defend Deepti, effectively saying it was moral because it was within the laws which is particularly interesting, because they don’t actually believe this. If they did, they’d have executed tens of mankads in their careers, but they didn’t… because they knew at the time it was an underhand tactic and not the right way to play.

I do accept that there needs to be some sanction for the non-striker stealing ground, but the loss of the wicket is too harsh and too controversial a penalty, because there is no skill involved. Perhaps the answer is to write the warning, which is traditionally said to be given, into the laws – so the first time the batter is not out, but the umpire notes a “tick” (as they do for bouncers) and then a second dismissal is actually out?

The real pity is that it overshadowed some brilliant bowling performances from both sides. Kate Cross has returned better figures including two ODI 5fers, but she has rarely (if ever) bowled better – making use of the slope at Lord’s to move the ball with wonderful control, making mincemeat of some of the world’s best batters in the process, taking two wickets bowled and one LBW with that movement. (Though the wicket that got Smriti was a bit of a bonus – probably the worst ball Cross  bowled in the entire series – and Smriti’s reaction was priceless: you could see her thinking “Can I review that on the grounds that such a terrible ball didn’t deserve a wicket?!?!”)

Renuka Singh also bowled a high-class spell, and looks to have come-good at just the perfect time for India, with the retirement of Jhulan. She might not be the quickest, but speed isn’t everything – just look over to James Anderson in the men’s game, who Renuka reminds me of a little.

But the best ball of the day was from the spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad to Danni Wyatt – it turned exquisitely, just enough to beat the bat, but not too much to beat the off stump – the second time in the series Wyatt has been dismissed by an absolutely unplayable delivery.

But no one will remember any of this.

They’ll just remember the mankad.


16 thoughts on “ENGLAND v INDIA: 3rd ODI – Mankad!

  1. Such an easy way to resolve all this – non-striker treats the crease the same way the bowler has to, and keeps something behind the line till the ball is released.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Just “at risk”, can be run out. Not automatically out (although, that’s the rule in Softball, funnily enough).

        Maybe it could be a no-ball if bowler attempts a run out and batter hasn’t left crease, but ideally keep it simple.


      • Really like this idea Aaron! Instead of immediately calling dead ball when the bowler runs in and doesn’t bowl (which the Umpire on Saturday started to do actually before Deepti removed bails, which raises a whole other question but let’s not go there) maybe the umpire could wait a second and see what transpires. If bails are removed or attempted to be removed, and the non-striker hadn’t left the crease, or got back, it could be signaled no-ball rather than dead ball. That would give some balance to a “free” run-out attempt that otherwise has all the benefits and none of the risks/challenges of a regular run-out (having to field ball, the throw, taking the ball, possible overthrow, etc).


  2. I want the moment and feeling back of just before that run out 😭 Sitting with Mike we kinda stopped chatting were increasingly like ‘holy shit, these two are really gonna get there…!’. There was a jolly duo of dad and daughter next to me who had been breaking down the chase into little chunks of 10, then5 , then 4 and they kept switching as to which really believed England would chase it down; she’d lose faith and Dad would revive it, then vice versa and she’d bring him back round but they never lost faith at the same time. And Deano just looked locked in to such a groove and the looming menace of the one required wicket started to fade ever so gently away, like the photos in Back To The Future. Sorry to be indelicate but it was that feeling when you really need a poo (the final wicket) but are miles from a toilet and somehow your bowels and brain sort themselves out a bargain (last partnership), and you suddenly feel fine, until you’re actually near the toilet and then it’s back with a vengeance, will you make it to the seat (England win) or shit your pants (that final wicket) And boy was it ever a huge mess in the end!
    When Deepti whipped the bails off I literally stood up, said my goodbyes and walked out to get my train. Just didn’t want any part of the rest of the match, the umpire review etc. I knew it would stand and don’t care about getting involved in the whole debate, but man, up to that point, was so so so invested. It was such a beautiful situation, ruined.


  3. As of 1st October the MCC (and ICC) rules change to place a “Mankad” in the Run Out section rather than the Unfair section. Back in March 2022, Fraser Stewart, the MCC Laws Manager, told the Times: “The bowler is always painted as the villain but it is a legitimate way to dismiss someone and it is the non-striker who is stealing the ground. It is legitimate, it is a run-out and therefore it should live in the run-out section of the laws.”

    People are concerned about India breaking the spirit cricket but have they ? Have they not complied with the spirit of the rule change 7 days before it becomes active ?

    In doing so Sharma will probably be the last person to do a “Mankad” (just a “Run Out” from 1/10). Rather appropriate given it’s named after an Indian.

    I applaud the MCC for the change because the scenario has been ill defined for too long. A couple of other changes would be welcome. No running after a direct hit by the fielding side. No runs allowed after ball from a fielder ricochets off a batsman or his/her bat (I didn’t hear many England fans criticise this when we won a World Cup by dint of it but its grossly unfair).

    This ”Mankad” mattered because England were 153-9 and therefore it will, understandably, be the main talking point but that masks the fact England were 153-9. England need to focus on why they were 153-9 rather than why they were 153 all out.


  4. This incident yesterday could damage all the good work the Commonwealth, The Hundred, The RHF and CE Cup had done to attract attention of youngsters to the game. Just imagine if young players now try to copy Deepti? Hopefully not! However, the act was deceptive, unnecessary and against the spirit of cricket. I am fed up of hearing
    “It was within the laws of the game!”. It is a shame as I have always liked Deepti Sharma, she will have to do a lot to get back in my good books. Will others feel the same?


  5. Well this isn’t the way we wanted a women’s ODI to get increased prominence in the Sunday press! The replay shows that Dean’s bat was still in the crease as Sharma’s arm neared its highest point, and it’s far from unreasonable to assume that, once the arm has reached that position, that the bowler is about to deliver the ball. I know there are some that say non-strikers have to learn not to leave the crease until the ball is on its way down, but this particular one really stinks in my mind as it was not a blatant case of trying to steal a run during the bowler’s run up. While Mankading might be within the laws, so is the situation that The Clanger describes. It’s acceptable within the Laws to run an overthrow if the throw hits you and runs off into the outfield, but it’s just not considered the done thing to actually do that. Maybe this falls into the same category – it’s legally acceptable but so morally questionable that it shouldn’t happen? And no I won’t be weeping for Sharma if what Syd suggests comes to pass and she gets frozen out of English franchise cricket.


  6. I swear that this is true but I said to the chap sat next to me (we both went to the game on our own and had been chatting throughout the match) “Deano is going great here but I really don’t like the way she comes out of her crease down the wicket from the bowlers end. If Freya hits a straight one, she will be so far out of her crease, she will be out” 2 balls later and we had the incident. Sharma has form for pulling out of her bowling at the last moment and Deano should have known this, but still, I don’t think anyone would have thought that *that* could happen. I was so shocked by how the match finished and really, is that how you want to win an ODI? Had India run out of ideas and would resort to anything to get Charlie out? Was mostly gutted for her not getting her maiden 50. Also, I was sat in Lower Mound that was very Indian sided and even they were booing at the end, everyone just wanted to see the match out. Personally, not a massive fan of Sharma anyway after she tried to bundle over Capsey (BINGO) in The Hundred last year. Who does that to a 16yr old?


  7. Hello Syd, We all know that just because something is deemed to be legal does not necessarily make it right; ask any woman about that. And as you rightly reminded us, bodyline bowling was legal. I don’t know what those Aussies got so upset about: Jardin was perfectly within his rights. (I know that a remark like that could get me lynched in Sydney.). What I want to know is whether Harmanpreet was aware that Deepti was going to “Mankad” Charlie, or was it all Deepti’s idea? Either way, not a very pleasant way to end the game; especially when India were perfectly capable of bowling England out. I like your suggestion of treating this particular type of run-out as bouncers are treated. And of course if the non-striker would just keep her bat grounded behind the popping crease until after the bowler has released the ball, there would be no controversy to speak of. Anyway, congrats to India even if the manner in which they won rather tarnished Goswami’s swan song. (By the way, how does Kate Cross feel about being Jhulan’s final victim? It is an honour of sorts, isn’t it? 😉). Ciao. John ♀︎🏏😻 John Thomson #17 – 415 Superior Street Victoria, BC V8V 1T5 CANADA john.thomson8@icloud.com



  8. It was another crushing defeat for England who have been thoroughly outplayed this series by a determined India side who were more disciplined in their shot selection and bowling lines. England at least gave their fans some late season cheer with their bowling performance, getting the best out of what turned out to be another average Lord’s pitch for batting, by restricting India to what appeared to be a far below par total.

    However as England later learned in their batting innings, there was plenty on offer for bowlers and England had again given away too many wides.
    Cross was brilliant, and had perhaps expected a player of the match award, only to find that Thakur matched her bowling effort with a wonderful spell of her own. And yet no England batters could match Mandhana’s or Sharma’s batting efforts. The worrying thing was that again, England seemed shellshocked that India had dared play well, and again did not learn from how the India batters were dismissed. This has been a key feature this series and simply not good enough from England. Some players did not pay enough due care and attention in their techniques, playing loosely or with gaps between bat and pad that the ball duly passed through on its way to the stumps. England’s batters have, in my living memory, never looked so out of sorts or devoid of form. The strange bowler -friendly summer and the conditions it brought has not helped. England will be keen to draw this series to a close especially given the nature of how it concluded.

    The result was predictable yet again. England failed to chase a low score and their batters largely didn’t even give themselves a chance. Only late heroics from Dean (my word she has got some fight in her!) and the lower order brought things close to the point that Deepti thought it necessary to resort to “plan B” to get the final wicket. Dean had seemed to do nothing different to the rest of her innings on that occasion. Batters always try to get an advantage with running between wickets and always will. Part of me thinks teams could get dismissed for some very low scores if the “run-up run out” was done with more regularity.

    Anyway, for England, we’ll have to see who comes in and takes over the reins. Whoever it is they have a lot of work to do to get things back in order. Only Wyatt, Ecclestone, Jones, Dean , Cross and Davies could probably be said to emerge from this series with much credit. A brave performance from Kemp as well, to come back and bowl the way she did.

    The most worrying aspect of the series was the poor team/squad selection which has cost England dearly. The selectors need to ditch the outdated idea of specialist T20 or ODI players and start picking players in form. The skills translate between formats and England have been playing ODIs in T20 mode on and off for years anyway, Capsey does it all the time. It seems ironic that LWH, Arlott, Bouchier, B.Smith and Glenn weren’t considered or played for this series and yet have been doing very well otherwise. Bouchier and B. Smith, 2 other players who had looked good in their last England game only to be dropped because- why? On the field the support must be given to younger players to help them along with an over or two from elsewhere if they are struggling. This did not happen in the 2nd ODI – I feel that, mixing metaphors, Bell and Kemp were dropped in at the deep end then hung out to dry! The new coach has a lot of potential to work with, but must try and realise that potential and avoid damage to player confidence that can result from taking a heavy beating.

    For India, congratulations are due but they must ask themselves how they even lost the T20i leg of the tour. That first performance at Durham was key, a very below-par effort from them that thankfully for India would not be repeated for the rest of the tour. Winning the series was worth it, perhaps even from an English point of view, to see the long overdue announcement of women’s IPL cricket formally made. And glad that Goswami got to see out her great International career on a high. Now, can India bring this result forward and start to challenge Australia with more regularity? To do so, they will need all the positives from this tour but also to knock those occasional poor displays on the head as well.


  9. I’ve seen fielders given stern warnings by the Umpire before for “pretending” to misfield in order to effect a run-out, or by sliding in front of another fielder to obscure what that fielder does. It’s deceiving the batter unfairly.

    Where do we draw the line between what Deepti quite often does – run in, seem to bowl then not release, what some people call “Psyching Out” the batter, and outright deception? If Deepti does it repeatedly and the non-striker does not leave the crease, Deepti’s effectively getting her gambit wrong and disguising it as something else. She’s getting a “free bet”. Can we just allow that to keep happening with no penalty for the bowling team?


    • Strongly agree with this. ‘Fake fielding’ is prohibited now, ‘fake bowling’ needs to be clamped down on too.

      I agree with the law allowing non-striker run outs, so don’t want to stop that. Maybe Umpires given powers to enforce bowlers’ faking somehow.


    • Strongly agree with this. ‘Fake fielding’ is prohibited now, ‘fake bowling’ needs to be clamped down on too.

      I agree with the law allowing non-striker run outs, so don’t want to stop that. Maybe Umpires given powers to enforce bowlers’ faking somehow.


  10. Whatever damage may have done on the pitch, there is a serious risk that loads more damage will be done off the pitch judging by player comments and player tweets.


Comments are closed.