West Indies pacer Keemo Paul was one of the rising stars from the nation’s U-19 World Cup triumph in 2016. Unlike his teammates though, Paul hogged the limelight due to a rather unconventional act which threw him the midst of heavy backlash from the former players as well as on social media.
Running for a spot in the knockout stage against Zimbabwe, Paul mankaded Richard Ngarava at the non-striker’s end in the final over and left the internet-judges into a frenzy. Speaking almost three years after the incident, the pacer has revealed the hardship he had to face during the time.
"At first, it was definitely tough," Paul told ESPNcricinfo. "I just locked myself away. I saw it on BBC. I read a lot of comments on social media. I took it hard. I cried a lot. And wondered if I did the right thing but my coaching staff and everyone else supported me very well.
"After I did it, after seeing all the comments, I was definitely devastated you know. But after the coaches supported me a lot, especially Corey Collymore, he came to me and said don't worry it is in the rules and you don't have to worry. That's when I started to gain confidence again. After reading all the comments and stuff, I just wanted to lock myself away and forget about it."
Adding to it, though he defended his action, the criticism he received has forced him to not to use the method ever again.
"Definitely I believed what I did was right. I was only 17, I came down hard on myself, kept wondering if I did the right thing. That was just instinct. Now I have matured more and I don't think I will probably do it again," he said.
"After I did it there was definitely a lot of doubt and I got a lot of stick for it and like I said, I saw some players who I looked up to (criticising me). The rules are there. We don't write them. We just follow the rules.
"I would say it is the fear of criticism. I got a lot of backlash for it. I would probably not do it. The criticisms and harsh comments. They are not right, but again, in my heart I definitely believe it is right but because of the how the game is today and because of the criticism you face, it is tough. I probably wouldn't do it again."
Considered by many as an act against the ‘ethics of the game’, mankad-ing was in the limelight of late when Punjab bowler Ravichandran Ashwin ran out Rajasthan’s Jos Buttler at the non-striker’s end. And just like Paul – who now plays with Delhi in the Indian T20 League - the Indian spinner now finds himself in massive controversy.