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Keemo Paul should be praised for Mankading!

Keemo Paul, U-19 World Cup, West Indies, Run Out
Cricket is not the gentleman’s game due to some moral superiority it holds over other sports and the unsporting conduct charges laid out against Keemo Paul suggests the sports is unable to let go of that fact.

In a decisive Under-19 World Cup match last week, West Indies’ Keemo Paul whipped off the bails as Zimbabwe’s number 11 Richard Ngarva was backing up. Mankaded, Ngarva was run out and West Indies claimed a two-run victory and a path to the quarterfinals. “I wouldn’t want my team to win in that way,” claimed former England pacer Dominic Cork, part of the official broadcasters’ commentary panel.

A number of players, past and present, came out to deem the act unsporting and against the oft-quoted ‘spirit of cricket’. Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming branded Keemo Paul’s act as ‘absolutely disgraceful behaviour’. Maybe he’s forgotten about the time when Brendon McCullum, then captained by Fleming, controversially ran out Muttiah Muralitharan as he was celebrating Kumar Sangakkara’s century in a Test match at Christchurch in 2006. Stephen Fleming’s New Zealand side had done the same to Zimabawe’s Chris Mpofu as well a year prior.

“You can’t wander off when the ball’s in play,” Fleming had said at that time. That’s exactly what Richard Ngarva was doing Mr Fleming – wandering off when he was mankaded well within the rules of the game.

The laws of the game state that the non-striker must keep his bat within the crease until the ball is delivered. As long as there is a provision to run him out, it should be utilised. Have you ever heard of an umpire asking the fielding captain to withdraw an appeal when a batsman is stumped? No? That’s because it never happens and neither should it in similar situations at the non-strikers end. A wicketkeeper is praised for his sharp work in a stumping, so why is a bowler vilified for quick thinking in his stride. The spirit of cricket doesn’t come into play as long as it’s in the rules of the game.

When Kemmo Paul was bowling that last over, the spirit of cricket was the last thing on his mind. He had three runs to protect, one wicket to take. He did what he felt was right. Kudos!


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