India captain Rohit Sharma has won widespread praise for a classy act of sportsmanship after Mohammed Shami ran out Dasun Shanaka at the non-striker's end on Tuesday. India beat Sri Lanka by 67 runs in the opening ODI, with Virat Kohli scoring 113 off 87 balls.
However the match was marred by an ugly moment in the final over when Shami ran out Sri Lanka captain Shanaka at the non-striker's end when he was on 98. With India assured of victory and Sri Lanka needing 83 runs off just three balls, Shami whipped the bails off at the non-striker's end before delivering the ball.
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Shanaka strayed out of his crease thinking Shami was going to let go of the ball and was found short of his ground. The dismissal is commonly known as a 'Mankad', and while still highly divisive in the cricket world it was recently made a legitimate method of dismissal by the ICC.
Sensing the storm that was about to erupt, India captain Sharma decided with Shami that they would withdraw the appeal. With India assured of victory and Shanaka on 98, Sharma said it was the right thing to do.
"I had no idea he (Shami) did that (run-out) when he went up for an appeal," Rohit told broadcasters after the win. "We cannot get him out like that. We wanted to get him out, we thought we will get him out, but that was not something we thought off. But again, hats off to him, he played really well."
Shanaka went on to register his second ODI century and finished 108 not out. He shared a warm embrace with Sharma after the final ball.
Sharma's actions have been widely praised around the cricket world, however Shami's have gone down like a lead balloon. Fans and commentators took to social media to blast the 'shameful' move considering India had already sealed victory and Shanaka was just two runs from a century.
A number of former Sri Lankan cricketers including Sanath Jayasuriya praised Sharma's actions. "The real winner was the sportsmanship of Rohit Sharma for refusing to take the run out. I doff my cap to you," Jayasuriya wrote on Twitter. Angelo Mathews said: "Not many captains would do this but hats off for withdrawing the appeal even though the law says so. Displaying great sportsmanship."
The 'Mankad' was named after Indian cricketer Vinoo Mankad, who was the first player to affect the rare mode of dismissal when he ran out Bill Brown twice in that fashion on a tour of Australia in 1948. The dismissal ignites debate every time it happens, despite it recently being legitimised by the ICC.
Australian spinner Adam Zampa was the previous player to try a 'Mankad', but his appeal was denied because he'd finished his delivery when he took the bails off in the BBL.
Mankad family divided over controversial term
Vinoo's grandson Harsh Mankad recently weighed into the debate and said he had no problems with continuing to use the term 'Mankading'. "Personally, I'm always delighted to see my grandfather being remembered. I feel it to be a great honour for our name to be associated with a cricketing term," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"I'd love to see the 'Mankad' or 'Mankading' stay and keep alive his memories and legacy as a great competitor and sportsman deeply respected and admired by everyone I've met and those who knew him and experienced life with him."
However some members of the Mankad don't agree. Nishita Rahul Mankad, wife of Vinoo’s late son Rahul, responded by saying: “(That’s) my nephew’s personal view, not that of the Mankad family. My late husband Rahul Mankad fought hard to have the ICC remove the family name from this form of dismissal, as it is inappropriate for a legitimate form of dismissal to stigmatise a legendary cricketer.”
Kohli scored the 45th ODI hundred of his career, returning to the national team with a bang after missing India's 2-1 win over Sri Lanka in the T20 series. Kohli, Sharma and Shubman Gill led India to huge total of 7-373, before Sri Lanka was restricted to 8-306 in reply.
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