Just four months after India got its historic independence in 1947, India’s Vinoo Mankad created a history of a different sort when he ran out Aussie opener Bill Brown at the bowler’s end for backing up too far before the ball was delivered. The incident was the first of its kind in Cricket, and soon the type of dismissal was referred to as ‘Mankaded’. The ‘historicity’ of the incident could not be missed.

A newspaper report of where it all began
(Source: Wikipedia)

In 1992, South Africa was making a return to mainstream international cricket after the apartheid era led to the Proteas getting banned from cricket. India was playing South Africa in a series billed as the ‘Friendship Series’… till Kapil Dev removed the bails at the non-striker’s end after Peter Kirsten to spark off a round of debate on ‘Spirit of Cricket’. According to the Indian team (and judging by Kapil’s reaction in this video), Kirsten was already warned at least twice before Kapil decided to take what people call as an ‘extreme’ step to get somebody out. Friendship Series turned into an ugly spat when Kepler Wessels allegedly hit Kapil with his bat and Dave Callaghan using some choicest words. The irony of the incident could not be lost.
Yesterday, as yet another ‘mankading’ incident opened up this age old debate on Spirit of Cricket, couldn’t help but wondering who was actually following the ‘true spirit of cricket’? When Ashwin, rightfully, appealed against Sri Lanka’s Thirimanne after the latter ventured out for a stroll before the ball was delivered, surprisingly, umpires decided to enquire with the fielding skipper on whether he needs to withdraw the appeal. Sehwag obliged. Appeal was withdrawn. Batsman continued to bat, and also stroll out with no remorse or respect shown to a lawful appeal. If anyone, it was Thirimanne who was acting against the Spirit of Cricket.
As per the rule change (or re-change) implemented last year, a bowler is ‘permitted, before releasing the ball and provided he has not completed his usual delivery swing, to attempt to run out the non-striker.’ Going by that, I’m not convinced how ‘spirit of Cricket’ is applicable if a non-striker, purely because of his own carelessness decides to back-up too far before the bowler releases the ball. If at all, Indians were silly to have withdrawn the appeal for a wrong-doing of a batsman, and more so, the umpires in asking the Indians to re-consider. Legally, that was out, just like a caught-behind or LBW. Imagine an umpire asking the fielding team to re-consider an appeal for a caught-behind, because the batsman chased a delivery that was too wide. A bowler doesn’t warn the batsman then either to not do that again! According to me, what is ‘more unfair’ is when a non-striker gets run out after a batsman hits a beautiful straight drive, which clips the bowler’s finger and hits the stump with the non-striker out of his ground, or when a runner bumps into a fielder/bowler and is run out because of that.
I remember watching this year’s Celebrity Cricket League (yes, I was watching CCL!) and the finals between Chennai and Karnataka had its moments. Two runs were needed of one delivery when the bowler decided to run the non-striker out before completing his delivery action. The ball, of course, wasn’t counted, but the wicket given! And because he did that, the legal delivery that he bowled yielded no run resulting in his team’s victory. The new batsman at the non-striker end couldn’t back-up before the ball was released and hence, couldn’t reach the striker’s end before the wicket-keeper threw the bails down. Yes, it may seem like a trivial cricket tournament, but there was a lesson to be learnt here. Follow the rules. Win it fair-and-square.
I remember a game which a team lost because the non-striker was almost half-way down the pitch by the time the ball reached the batsman, that he could easily come back for the second beating a throw that came from long-on. Wasn’t that unfair? I’m sure countless other moments have happened in the cricket field where a batting side got undue advantage (and even won games) because of the earlier rule, which allowed the runner to take off as soon as the bowler was in his delivery stride.
If it’s in the rule-book, I don’t see any reason why that should cause any disturbance to this ‘Spirit of Cricket’ that people drum-beat about so much. It is not ‘win at any cost’, it’s ‘win within the rules.’ Ironic it is, as one would think ‘breaking the rule’ goes against the ‘spirit’ of anything, and not following it!

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People are quite often amused with my belief in GOD. The primary reason for my love for JESUS is the fact that without any effort of my own, I am heir to HIS Kingdom, bought with a high price of HIS blood through HIS crucifixion at Calvary. But if you ask me, why did He have to do that? Precisely. HE didn’t have to. But HE wanted to, so that the world that was heading towards eternal destruction and doom could have a reason for eternal hope and joy. And JESUS volunteered!

While that is ‘The’ reason for my belief, recently, I have been falling deeper in love with HIM after watching and going through some of HIS artistic ‘show-off’! While I knew he loved me, these videos woke me up to the magnitude of HIS love. Pastor Louie Giglio’s talks have largely been influential in letting me just be spell-bound by the awesomeness of this Big Huge GOD that I serve, who also chose to love big!
This Indescribable lecture by Pastor Giglio talks about the grace of GOD that is nothing less than astronomical! The pastor beautifully describes the vastness of the universe and where we stand in this wide expanse, and how despite our ‘smallness’, JESUS became ‘small’ for us!
The ‘How Great is our GOD’ lecture is not just about the beauty of creation, but about how GOD holds together His most precious creation – us!

In this video, he explains how GOD has programmed the creation to sing and give Him praise through a neat little mash-up of songs that the stars’ and whales’ sing.
While these videos have been doing the round, I got a link today which led me to a brilliantly-designed interactive flash site, where the size of a normal human being is compared to the universe around us. Keep moving the navigation bar to the right to ‘reach’ the ‘human’ figure. Keep moving it further to see the ‘human’ disappear into distance. This just left me as stunned as the videos themselves as I kept zooming out, and realised how small the mankind really is!

Apart from these, my constant visits to NASA’s hubblesite.org have left me speechless with the magnanimity of our universe. I am no expert in space. Neither am I good in science. But merely the smaller everyday world around me is enough to convince me that there’s a larger power at play here. I am not opening yet another debate on ‘Creation v/s Evolution’, nor am I interested in one. I am no authority. But I am convinced about my great big GOD! And with the kind of love He has showered upon me, I don’t have a choice but to fall deeper in love with Him.
As Pastor Giglio would say, “I am not making you feel small. I am telling you We ARE small!” And for these small people like you and me, did JESUS willingly volunteer to come and become like one of us, but die the death of a criminal on the cross, so that by HIS blood, each (yes, each) one of us would be redeemed and be saved. And the good news is that HE’s still alive and well. The tomb is empty. The stone is rolled away. Jesus has risen!

Blogger’s Note: It seems the link to Scale of the Universe was getting redirected to a Home Page, from where navigation to the flash file was tougher. There, this Post was edited at 11:30 PM with a new link leading to the swf (which disappointingly, is smaller than what I’d seen first)

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