FORMER TRINIDAD and Tobago, and West Indies, fast bowler Tony Gray has thrown his support towards the West Indies Under-19 team, after their ‘controversial’ two-run win over Zimbabwe in their ICC (International Cricket Council) Under-19 World Cup Group C game at Chittagong, Bangladesh yesterday .
Pace bowler Kemo Paul, with the first ball of the final over (Zimbabwe were on 224/9 pursuing a target of 227) did not deliver but, instead, was aware of the Mankad rule (running out a batsman who is backing up) and broke the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Richard Ngarava’s bat was on the line and, he was ruled out upon review from the television umpire Tim Robinson .
The Mankad rule, which was named after Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad, was brought back into the ICC Playing Conditions in 2011, and it states, “the bowler is permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker .
Gray, during a telephone interview yesterday, remarked, “it’s unfortunate that they criticise young men who are adhering to the laws of the game. The laws of the game must come in to play. That rule has been reviewed recently and (the ICC) allowed it to be a part of the international game.” He added, “(Paul) was only adhering to the laws of the game and I must compliment him on being aware, first of all, of the rules and then being in the moment and aware of what’s going on out there .
So there was game awareness .
“If international commentators want to criticise Under-19 players for adhering and embracing the laws of the game, I will have a serious problem with that and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) should make mention and be supportive of the young man in this case.” Dismissals like these are rare and they do raise debate about the spirit of the game
Gray related an incident involving his fast bowling teammate Courtney Walsh and number 11 batsman Saleem Jaffar during a 1987 World Cup meeting between the West Indies and hosts Pakistan in Lahore. “I witnessed Walsh allowing (Jaffar) to (return) to his crease, and he was far down the wicket. He had an opportunity to run him out and he didn’t.” Gray continued, “(Walsh) was offered a diamond ring at an award function but we lost that game and we didn’t do too well in that World Cup. I think it’s unfortunate that if you have laws of the game and (the youngsters) adhere to the laws of the game, we cannot criticise them.” Gray’s ex-TT and WI fast bowling partner Ian Bishop was one of the commentators of the game, which was aired live on ESPN .
In a post-game debate involving himself and former pacers Dominic Cork (England) and Mpumelelo “Pommie” Mbangwa (Zimbabwe), and Bishop said, “it’s probably not something I would have done but I have to leave all the emotions aside .
Bishop further stated, “it is in the law books and people talk about the spirit of the game. A batsman backing up a couple of feet down the track, off the last ball, to win the game. Is that within the spirit of the game? If the law is there, that was within the law.” On social media network Twitter, the issue sparked heated debate, involving a number of present and past international cricketers .
TT and West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard wrote, “what’s all the fuss….that’s why there are rules and regulations! Well done guys .
Some may agree some may not!!” while ex-Windies fast bowler Tino Best posted, “I have seen guys nick balls behind and mark their crease, I have seen guys pick up catches and claim them.” On the flip side, ex-New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming posted, “this is not a good look, absolutely disgraceful behaviour”, England’s One Day International (ODI) and T20 skipper Eoin Morgan tweeted, “disgraceful behaviour in the U19 CWC. WI should be embarrassed!!” and former Australia cricketer Tom Moody commented, “saddened to see that winning comes down to this!”