“No Mankads while I’m the head coach,” Delhi's Ponting warns Ashwin
Legendary Australian skipper and Delhi head coach Ricky Ponting said he will have a 'hard conversation' with experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and warned him not to 'Mankad' non-strikers in the upcoming Indian T20 League season like he has done in the past.
The Indian spinner, who joined Delhi from Punjab ahead of the new season, ran out Rajasthan' Jos Buttler at the non-striker's end before even delivering the ball last season.
Although deemed as a legal form of dismissal, Ashwin’s decision to run out Buttler invited plenty of criticism and Delhi head coach Ponting has made it clear that he wouldn’t be accepting anything similar under his watch in the upcoming Indian T20 League season in the UAE.
"I’ll be having a chat with him about (mankad), that’s the first thing I’ll do," Ponting said on The Grade Cricketer Podcast. "Obviously, he wasn’t in our squad last year, he’s one of our players that we tried to afford to bring in this year.”
Ponting recalled how he spoke to the Delhi squad after the incident last season. “Look, he’s a terrific bowler, and he’s done a great job in the Indian T20 League for a long period of time now, but I must admit watching that last season, as soon as it happened and he did that, I actually sat our boys down and said ‘Look, I know he’s done it, there’ll be others around the tournament who’ll think about doing this as well but that’s not going to be the way that we play our cricket. We won’t be doing that’,” Ponting asserted.
The former Aussie skipper is aware that it won’t be the most pleasant of conversations to have but expects Ashwin to ‘take it on the chin’ nonetheless. "So, that’s going to be a conversation and that’s going to be a hard conversation I will have to have with him, but I’m pretty sure he’ll take it on the chin. I think, even him, looking back now, probably he’d say it was within the rules and he’s right to do it, but this is not within the spirit of the game, not in the way I want, at least with the Delhi anyway," Ponting said.
Furthermore, Ponting also weighed in with his thoughts on Ashwin’s recent suggestion for a tweak in the rules, calling for runs to be disallowed if non-strikers back up too early. "I think there’s ways that you can actually stop batsmen cheating like that. If the bowler was to stop, and the batsman was a foot out of his crease for instance, why don’t you just penalise him some runs or something? Then they won’t do it again," he said.
"You’ve only got to do that once at the start of a tournament, and then all the players see it, and you can guarantee the players won’t be fudging any ground from then on. I chatted to some of the match referees about it during last year’s Indian T20 League as well. If the umpires make a stance and do something to warn the batsman that they might be cheating, then that’s better than having the ugly incident of a mankad," Ponting added.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Money Sharma