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Mankading to Karthiking to Sachitring !!

It's time to raise my glass to Sachithra Senanayake, Cheers young man, keep up the good spirit; we will cheer you on all the way.


With all the media and cricketing fuss that has been made about his well calculated and completely lawful move, in getting Jos Buttler out in the last 50-over match that Sri Lanka won against England, helping us win the series, followed by the victory in the T20 series too, it has hardly been noticed that Sachithra Senanayake with his limited games in international cricket has suddenly been elevated to rank with one of the greatest names in cricket, India's Vinoo Mankad. 


Of course, those suffering the pain of two series' defeats in the current English summer, may say his link with the Mankad name is for the wrong reason  - that is their way of trying to swallow the agony of defeat. Sachithra has joined Mankad in the ranks of those who upheld the laws of cricket – and that is what matters.


 Alistair Cook, the English captain talks of "bad blood" over this "controversial" run out of Buttler. He has told the "Mail Online" UK, it was a legitimate dismissal, according to regulations, but it left a bitter taste  with England, and Cook said the incident would 'spice-up' the two-Test series [to follow].  Cook adds:"I've never seen anything like that and I was disappointed….It is a pretty poor act. It wasn't as if he was trying to steal a run, he was a half a yard outside his crease".


One must feel sorry for Cook about his ignorance of cricketing history.  One does not expect every English cricketer or captain to have seen everything of importance that has happened in cricket before them. But good cricketers must also have some knowledge of the laws of the game. Some reading about cricket could be helpful. One can't say it was a "legitimate dismissal" and then say it was a disappointing or pretty poor act.


Cook and others who were and are critical of Sachitra's move, with due previous warning, should remember there are two umpires at the game, and the complaints about Buttler's action were made to the Head Umpire. The final decision was that of the umpire, having consulted the Sri Lankan captain, too.  That is the spirit of the game of cricket…the golden rule that the umpire is always right. One may extend it to a third umpire or a match referee – but it is the umpire who has the final say.


If the English team and its readily booing supporters who cannot accept the reality of a defeat, much as they would have loved a win, the bad blood that Cook talks of must be directed towards the umpire. If that is what the English really feel, without having the, guts, courage or daring to say it, they had better shut up, accept the defeat as part of the game and go on to the Test series –hoping to do better at it, without batsmen dancing on the pitch.


There is much being said about Sachithra's action and Angelo Mathews' going against the "spirit of cricket". What I see here is a hangover from the days of the British Empire. It is true that cricket came to us as colonies of the British. But we have mastered the game, including its rules, laws and the very defining spirit of sportsmanship. That is why so many players from the former colonies of the British are now shining in the World of Cricket. It would appear that those who now live in what is left of the British Empire,  where the sun almost never fully shines, compared to the Empire where the sun never set, are unable to accept that those from a small colony  such as Ceylon or Sri Lanka, once better known for tea, is now getting more acceptance for cricket. The British, including its cricketers, must learn to accept the loss of the Empire, and that there are others who may know both the laws and spirit of cricket, much better than they do, from what we saw at Edgbaston earlier this week.


The question of cricketing spirit is readily answered by stating very clearly that there can be no spirit in a game where the laws are ignored or flouted. The spirit of a game is in playing it according to the rules, to be best judged by those appointed for it and on the field to do so. Errors can be made, both by players or umpires, but they do not compromise with the spirit of the game.  And this was no error – in was a blatant and repeated violation of a rule – that is clear to a player from his early days in school.   


For those who are so shattered by defeat as to cry foul at those who follow the laws of the game, there can be little left but pity. When Alistair Cook talks of this run out of Jos Buttler –who showed more of prancing beyond the crease – would "spice up" the coming Test series, it would be good to remember that before we came to be known for tea and cricket, Sri Lanka had been known for centuries for its spices. We are still proud of our prices, and one can be sure that we too can spice up a game and give it a very good taste – in all departments of the game.


Among those who talk of Sachithra's and Mathews' actions not being in the spirit of the game is Ravi Bopara. As he says it: "For this to happen is quite sad, but if Angelo Mathews and Sri Lanka want to play their cricket, then it is up to them. Hopefully, we don't step to that level."  Strange isn't it, for a cricketer to say that he or their team will not step to the level of observing the rules of the game? Ravi Bopara, who is a Britisher, born to a Sikh family in the UK, has obviously not been instructed in the rules of cricket from his beginnings at Brampton Manor School  and later at Barking Abbey School. If he still has any influence left from his Sikh parents he would possibly have heard of Vinoo Mankad, who brought glory to Indian and world cricket, long before he was born, and it is from the same Mankad's action in a match against Australia that the phrase "Mankading" was born.  


It is also this "Mankading" that was considered wholly  legitimate  by none other than Don Bradman, writing about the run out of Australia's Bill Brown by Vinoo Mankad in 1947-48. That is the history of cricket. That is the past that Alistair Cook and Ravi Bopara, and so many others do not seem to know. Possibly, they may not even know who Don Bradman was, as Cook admits to not having seen anything as Sachithra's action against Jos Buttler.      


Cheers to Sachithra Senanayake again. May the Spirit of Cricket thrive, and let's give England a lot of real spice in the Tests series ahead.  


Mankading to Karthiking to Sachitring !!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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