Team India is all set to begin its tour to Australia with a 50-over contest next week. In fact, international cricket resumes for the Indian team with this game after a gap of eight months. The touring team will face the hosts for a 3-match ODI series followed by a 3-match T20I competition. In addition, the teams will play 4 test matches including a pink ball encounter. Undoubtedly, the test series is the most anticipated bout of this whole tour. On a contextual note, even the highly debated Mankading mode of dismissal emerged out of a similar Indian tour to Australia.
Legacy of India-Australia Test Matches
Test matches involving India and Australia are always special. To clarify, both the teams field top-class cricketers from their respective nations. In addition, players from both the sides attempt to give their best in this encounter. A test century on Australian soil is often considered as landmark for an Indian cricketer. On the other hand, a test win in India is considered to be a matter of prestige in Australian cricket.
The level of competition in a test match involving these two teams are pretty intense. Often, this intensity leads to on-field banters between the rival teams. In fact, we have seen many controversial moments created in such encounters over the years.
Here is a list of the most-talked banters in test matches between India and Australia:
- Sunil Gavaskar walked out with his batting partner Chetan Chauhan in protest to a wrong umpiring decision off an LBW appeal from Aussie pacer Dennis Lillee in the 1981 Melbourne test.
- Australia fielder Michael Slater confronted Indian umpire S Venkataraghavan at the 2001 Mumbai test after he was denied of a catch that was grounded.
- Indian captain Sourav Ganguly made his counterpart Steve Waugh wait at the toss throughout the 2001 Indian tour of Australia, as a psychological tactic.
- A Hindi curse from Harbhajan Singh got misinterpreted as a racist slur to Andrew Symonds at the 2008 Sydney test, that led into a court case!
- Indian opener Gautam Gambhir hit Australia allrounder Shane Watson with his elbow for standing on his way while completing a run at the 2008 Delhi test.
- India captain Virat Kohli accused his counterpart Steve Smith of seeking help from the dressing room for DRS at the 2017 Bangalore test.
- Kohli and Rishabh Pant engaged in repeated banters with Australia skipper Tim Paine on the 2018 tour to Australia.
Apart from these, there have been multiple heated incidents between these two teams. In fact, Mankading – the controversial mode of dismissal in cricket got its name from a similar banter involving India and Australia.
In short, Mankading is a mess. It is a rare mode of dismissal in cricket. To clarify, the practice of running out a non-striker while he is backing up before the bowler releases his delivery is called Mankading. In fact, the name of this kind of dismissal came from Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad.
This mode of dismissal is highly controversial. It is certainly legal as per the laws of cricket. The bowler is allowed to punish the non-striking batsman in case the batsman leaves his crease while the bowler swings his arm round ahead of a delivery. However, puritans hold it as a practice against the spirit of cricket.
The ‘Spirit of Cricket’
Cricket is the only sport in the world with the tag of ‘Gentleman’s Game’. Hence, the sportsmanship spirit remains attached with this game in high regards. Although controversies pop out at regular intervals, the governing councils are strict in resolving those.
The act of Mankading rarely happens in cricket. But whenever it takes place, it forms engaging debates among the players, media and the fans. In fact, the offending non-striker is served a warning initially as per regular practice. Yet, almost every incident of Mankading associates itself with heated debates or even shaming for the bowler.
For example, in the 2019 edition of IPL, veteran Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was heavily criticized for Mankading an in-form Jos Buttler. Actually, he included a slight pause instead of releasing the delivery. He sensed earlier itself that Buttler had a tendency to leave his crease too early. Ashwin used the opportunity, and uprooted the bails instead of the release while Buttler already backed up. So, despite Ashwin inflicting the dismissal within the rules of the sport, he faced backlash for the deliberate pause before enforcing the Mankading.
How ‘Mankading’ got its name
The history of ‘Mankading’ leads to another Indian tour to Australia long back in the year 1947. In fact, the first ever such dismissal took place in the year 1861. New South Wales underarm fast medium bowler John Kinloch had John Huddleston of Victoria run out for backing up early in a first-class game of cricket at Melbourne.
However, the first instance of Mankading in international cricket was performed by Vinoo Mankad, at the Sydney test in December 1947. His victim was Bill Brown, an opening batsman for Australia.
The incident had a little history of banter wrapped between the two. In fact, it was not the first time Mankad dismissed Brown in this fashion. Earlier, the same incident happened in a first-class game between Indian and an Australian XI a month before, on the same ground.