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At The Center Of The Storm: Deepti Sharma Debunk The Myth That Is ‘Spirit of the Game’ At The Lords

India gifted their veteran seamer Jhulan Goswami a fitting tribute, in her last international appearance by winning the match and the series, last night. India playing only their 4th match at the Lords was lifted by her performance as well. Jhulan who ended her illustrious career of two decades with 10-3-30-2 took a stunner at slip. India defended 169 against England, to earn their maiden clean sweep against the host in their own backyard. As Jhulan was carried on by the shoulder of Meghna Singh and her teammates, she could not have thought of a better fairytale ending. But within a few minutes of the last England wicket, courtesy of Deepti Sharma, the cricketing World was grappled by a storm which seemed to have shadowed the farewell of a cricketing legend.

How England Chased:

Chasing 170 runs to win, Renuka Singh Thakur’s 3 wickets in her first spell, derailed the English top order. Jhulan Goswami removed teenage sensation Alice Capsey. Rajewsari then removed Wyatt in her very first over, after conceding two boundaries in her first two balls. An over later,  Sophie Ecclestone failed to survive the crafty left-arm spinner, as Jhulan took a good catch at slip. From 34/1, England was slumped to 65/7 in the 17 overs.

However, England captain Amy Jones rode on the builder mode. She along with Charlie Dean added 38 runs for the 8th wicket to go past the 100-run mark. Once it looked like that another 10 or 20 runs would make the match slip away from India, Renuka picked up her 2nd 4th wicket haul in the series. Jones fell to a diving catch by Harleen Deol at deep mid-wicket. When Cross- the Dean partnership looked threatening, Kaur bought back Jhulan Goswami for her final two overs. Jhulan conceded no runs in her penultimate over. In the 2nd ball of her last over, she sent Kate Cross back to the pavilion. Her 255th ODI wicket meant England was still 52 runs behind with one wicket at hand.

But if anything was in England’s favour was that the asking run rate was still below 4. That means they didn’t have to take risks.  And Charlie Dean as number 9 batter was set in the middle. She has surpassed her best score in England colours in every match of this series. She was the key.  As the duo kept taking on singles with occasional boundaries, pressure mounted on India. Jhulan, Renuka and Rajwesari who have taken 8 wickets among themselves had completed their allotted overs. England needed 18 from their last 7 overs and Deepti was bought into the attack.

What Transpired in the 44th over:

Dean pushed for the single in the very first ball. Davies who had played 27 balls, earned her confidence by then. She needed to survive or score in the last 5. Deepti floated the next one, and Davies defended to short mid-wicket. Now as Deepti Sharma came to bowl the third ball of the over, Dean at the non-striker’s end was backing up too far. Deepti has a reputation for pulling from the bowling stride. But in this case, sensing that Dean had been backing up too far, she didn’t release the ball and dislodged the bail at the non-strikers’ end. Dean was nowhere on the scene.

As Deepti appealed and the umpire went upstairs, Dean stand in utter aghast. She was batting on 47, with grit and determination. Little did she have an imagination that she could get out, in that fashion. However, Deepti Sharma who was fielding on mid-on in the last couple of overs had noticed that non-strikers were backing up too far. So she took the advantage of that situation.  As the decision came, Dean broke into tears but calmed herself instantly to shake hands with the victorious team. India won by 16 runs to have their first clean sweep against England.

What Laws Say About The Incident: 

As India engaged in a jubilant celebration owing to the presence of the mind of Deepti Sharma, that age-old debate about ‘ run out at the non-striker end’, popularly known as ‘mankading’ resurfaced once again. While the English commentators ignited the fuel by saying that it was not right or against the ‘spirit of the game‘,  fans gathered to point out that this is within the law of the game. MCC Law 41.16.1 states

“If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be Run out. In these circumstances, the non-striker will be out Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground when his/her wicket is put down by the bowler throwing the ball at the stumps or by the bowler’s hand holding the ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered.”

At the same time MCC in its 2022 ruling which will be implemented from October 1, 2022, stated that ‘mankading’  will be removed from the ‘unfair play’ and included in the run-out section.

“38.3.1 If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be Run out. In these circumstances, the non- striker will be out Run out if he/she is out of his/her ground when his/her wicket is broken by the bowler throwing the ball at the wicket or by the bowler’s hand holding the ball, whether or not the ball is subsequently delivered.”

At the same time, it also says,

  • 38.3.3 If the ball is delivered and there is an appeal,
    • the umpire shall make his/her decision on the Run
    • if the non-striker is not dismissed, the ball remains in play and Law 6 (Bowler breaking wicket in delivering ball) shall apply.
    • if the non-striker is dismissed, the ball shall not count as one in the

MCC also published a press release that states,

“Respectful debate is healthy and should continue, as where one person sees the bowler as breaching the spirit in such examples, another will point at the non-striker gaining an unfair advantage by leaving their ground early.MCC’s message to non-strikers continues to be to remain in their ground until they have seen the ball leave the bowler’s hand. Then dismissals, such as the one seen yesterday, cannot happen.”

They also stated that yesterday was indeed an unusual end to an exciting match. But it was properly officiated and should not be considered as anything more.

While the incident stirred the dialogue, it would be worth mentioning that neither this incident is an isolated one, nor unacceptable. Apart from that Ashwin and Buttler incident, Cameroon’s  Maeve Douma enticed not only one such run-out but 4 in a single match against Uganda, last year. one can remember that  The runouts at the non-striker’s end, like this, found their basis on the laws, it protects the awareness of the players, One might not like the way, but that doesn’t take anything away from the person doing it, as far as remains within the law.

 

While the Indian captain backed Deepti Sharma for her awareness, the England captain too pointed out that this ‘incidence’ “doesn’t take the shine off from the armour.”

https://twitter.com/kyakarungimain/status/1573727381701136386?s=20&t=RdeM5DUkoUDXIdBprxY6gw

Here is how the cricketing world reacted to the recent dismissal by Deepti Sharma:

https://twitter.com/thomasgodfreyuk/status/1573750690278670336?s=20&t=RdeM5DUkoUDXIdBprxY6gw

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