JAIPUR: Ravichandran Ashwin´s controversial “Mankad” dismissal of England batsman Jos Buttler sparked outrage on Monday, with current and former cricket greats accusing the Kings XI Punjab captain of unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Spinner Ashwin took the bails off at the non-striker´s end while Buttler was backing up, with the controversial move overshadowing his side´s 14-run victory over Rajasthan Royals and the return to IPL cricket of Australia´s Steve Smith.
The term “Mankad” — used when a bowler runs out a non-striker before delivery — was coined 70 years ago when Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad twice ran out Bill Brown at the bowler´s end during India´s tour of Australia in 1947.
It is considered to be against cricket´s spirit of fair play and Buttler, who scored 69 off 43 deliveries, walked dejectedly back to the pavilion after an argument with the India bowler.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said Ashwin´s actions were unacceptable.
“If @josbuttler had been warned well that´s fine … if he hasn´t and it´s the first time I think @ashwinravi99 is completely out of order … watch how often this happens from now on !!!!!!! #IPL”, he wrote on Twitter.
Buttler´s Rajasthan team-mate Jofra Archer, who will soon qualify to play for England, also took to Twitter to express his anger.
Archer wrote of Ashwin: “You show no confidence in yourself or your bowlers to get the job done so you resort to that ? #greatcaptaincy”
Ashwin was unrepentant, however.
“No real argument to that. I didn´t even load and he left the crease. It´s always been my take on it, because it´s my half of the crease,” he said.
Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane played down the controversy and said his team will take it “sportingly”.
“We are not supposed to comment on a controversial issue. The match referee will take the call,” he said.
Smith, who along with compatriot David Warner made his return to the IPL after missing the previous edition due to a ball-tampering controversy, walked out into a charged field of play.
The former Australia captain took time to settle down before hitting England paceman Sam Curran for a four and six in one over.
Curran, who took two wickets, got his revenge in his very next over as he sent Smith trudging back to the pavilion with KL Rahul taking a sharp catch while running to his left from long-on.
Bowlers soon struck back as the Royals batting collapsed from 148-2 to 164-9 as a disappointed Smith looked on from the dugout.
On Sunday, Warner enjoyed a run-filled comeback to the world´s most popular T20 league, scoring 85 off 53 balls for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who also lost their opening match.
Bans from state and international cricket for Smith and Warner end on March 28 but the duo are keen to get among the runs in the IPL, ahead of the 50-over World Cup starting in May.
The suspension did not include club games but IPL´s governing council decided not to allow the disgraced duo in the 11th edition of the T20 league last year in a bid to avoid controversy.
The pair were banned for cheating during a Cape Town Test in March last year along with teammate Cameron Bancroft, whose nine-month ban has already finished.