Pat Cummins' staggering call as Mitchell Starc act divides cricket world

Pat Cummins has spoken out after Mitchell Starc was involved in fiery scenes during the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, pictured here in the Boxing Day Test.
Pat Cummins has spoken out about Mitchel Starc potentially affecting a Mankad. Image: Channel 7/Getty

Pat Cummins has given his blessing for Mitchell Starc to start 'Mankading' batters if they continually leave their crease early at the non-striker's end. Starc was involved in fiery scenes on Thursday during the Boxing Day Test when he blasted Theunis de Bruyn for creeping out of his crease early.

De Bruyn appeared to be in dreamland as he left his crease way too early on two occasions before Starc delivered the ball. On the first occasion Starc pulled out of his delivery stride and shot daggers at the South African batter.

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After the second instance Starc lashes out, saying: "Just stay in your crease, it's not that hard. The line is there for a reason mate."

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Speaking to Fox Sports during a drinks break, Starc said: "He was halfway down Punt Road I think. I was just letting him know that if I have to keep my foot behind the line he can stay in his crease."

After the match he added: “There’s no need for it. You saw how far down he was. That’s just absolutely taking the mickey. That’s not just taking off before I bowl, he’s a metre down the wicket. Yeah I gave him a couple of warnings. If he wants to keep doing it I’ll take them [the stumps].”

Theunis de Bruyn, pictured here well out of his crease as Mitchell Starc was delivering the ball.
Theunis de Bruyn was way out of his crease as Mitchell Starc was delivering the ball. Image: Fox Sports

Starc was well within his rights to whip the bails off and run de Bruyn out, but chose to warn his rival instead. The ICC recently moved to legitimise the 'Mankad', moving it out of a section in the laws of the game under 'unfair play' into the 'runout' section.

However the method of dismissal remains highly contentious, with many of the belief that a bowler should warn a non-striker before running them out. While Starc has previously said he'd never do, Aussie captain Cummins revealed on Thursday that he'd fully support a runout at the non-striker's end if a batter continually leaves early.

“Yep,” Cummins said. “We can warn them a couple of times but if they keep taking the mickey...”

Mitchell Starc, pictured here ripping into Theunis de Bruyn for leaving his crease early in the Boxing Day Test.
Mitchell Starc ripped into Theunis de Bruyn for leaving his crease early in the Boxing Day Test. (Photo by Darrian Traynor - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Mitchell Starc moment divides cricket world

Starc's actions divided the cricket world, with some suggesting he should have run de Bruyn out if he feels so strongly about the issue. Aussie great Damien Fleming suggested Starc was making a mountain out of a mole hill and that de Bruyn was simply being carless.

"I don't think he (de Bruyn) was trying to gain an advantage," Fleming said on Channel 7. "He just wasn't paying attention." Fellow Channel 7 commentator Greg Blewett said he believes a non-striker shouldn't have to concentrate on when the bowler delivers the ball, especially in Test cricket.

Australia bowled South Africa out for 204 on Thursday, winning the MCG Test by an innings and 182 runs. The victory sealed Australia's first series win over South Africa on home soil in 17 years.

It also moves Australia one win away from sealing their place in the World Test Championship final. Cummins described the current Aussie side as "probably the best Test team I've played in.

"In terms of captaining, I don't have feel like I have to do much at all, everyone looks after themselves. Just in a really sweet spot at the moment, we know it's not going to stay like this forever, but I think we can just all sit back and appreciate the place that we are in at the moment."

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