The first conversation that Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting wants to have with new-joinee Ravichandran Ashwin is over the idea of mankading, making it clear to the veteran cricketer that he won't be allowed to use that method of dismissal.
Ashwin had created quite a stir after mankading England's Jos Buttler in IPL 2019 during a match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, which left the cricket world divided. While some echoed the words of Ashwin, defending him and saying that the dismissal was well within the rules of the game, other opined that Ashwin lacked sportsmanship.
Speaking on The Grade Cricketer Podcast, Ponting said that after that dismissal last season he had sat down with the squad.
“I’ll be having a chat with him about [mankad], that’s the first thing I’ll do,” Ponting said about Ashwin, who was earlier bought by Delhi before the auction in December last year. “Obviously, he wasn’t in our squad last year, he’s one of our players that we tried to afford to bring in this year. Look, he’s a terrific bowler, and he’s done a great job in the IPL for a long period of time now, but I must admit watching that last season, as soon as it happened and he did that, I actually sat our boys down and said ‘Look, I know he’s done it, there’ll be others around the tournament who’ll think about doing this well but that’s not going to be the way that we play our cricket. We won’t be doing that’.”
“So, that’s going to be a conversation and that’s going to be a hard conversation I will have to have with him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll take it on the chin. I think, even him, looking back now, probably he’d say it was within the rules and he’s right to do it, but this is not within the spirit of the game, not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi Capitals anyway.”
Ashwin had however repeatedly defended his action. Lat June, talking about the same, the offie said, “What I did is what the rules are supposed to be.”
Ponting, however, is ready to offer an alternative to Mankading. “I think there’s ways that you can actually stop batsmen cheating like that,” he said. “If the bowler was to stop, and the batsman was a foot out of his crease for instance, why don’t you just penalise him some runs or something? Then they won’t do it again.
“You’ve only got to do that once at the start of a tournament, and then all the players see it, and you can guarantee the players won’t be fudging any ground from then on. I chatted to some of the match referees about it during last year’s IPL as well. If the umpires make a stance and do something to warn the batsman that they might be cheating, then that’s better than having the ugly incident of a mankad.”