By Malinda Seneviratne –
Sachithra Senanayake was booed each time he came up to bowl, each time he touched the ball. This is after he ‘Mankaded’ Jos Buttler. A lot has been said and written about the incident. There has been self-righteous indignation, there’s been ‘titting-for-tatting’ arguments and there has been sober reference to ICC laws.
Ravi Bopara said ‘It is definitely not within the spirit of the game. I wouldn’t say Jos was stealing yards, he was just casually leaving the crease. It is just the done thing.’ He adds, ‘if that’s the way Matthews and Sri Lanka want to play their cricket then it’s up to them; hopefully we don’t step to that level.’
Now Bopara and Buttler had almost brought England a hard-to-imagine win in the 4th ODI. There were some 20 plus occasions when ones were converted into twos. ‘Good running,’ the commentators said. They weren’t watching Buttler doing the ‘done thing’ though. However, the only difference between this ‘done thing’ and running in a manner that compels the umpire to signal ‘one short’ is that the former happens at delivery point and the latter post-delivery and post-stroke. If one is the ‘done thing’ then the other is too.
According to Bopara, though, stepping out early is morally superior to being punished for doing so after being warned more than once. Should we not say ‘fiddlesticks!’?
The last word on the issue, to my mind, came from my colleague Callistus Davy: ‘It is not something that players should sort out. It’s for the umpires to decide.’ True. The ‘spirit of the game,’ frequently alluded to with reference to this incident is way too subjective to come to any conclusion one way or another. ‘Laws’ are more robust and they are pretty clear on this matter. If you are deliberately taking cover under ‘spirit of the game’ to steal a few singles and with it a game, that’s the worst kind of violation of this ‘spirit of the game’.
The warning should have come from the umpire, not the players. The umpire watched for no-balls and is required to ascertain if a run has been completed. People get run out by fractions of an inch and therefore gaining a couple of yards by ‘doing the done thing’ is cheating. What Bopara is therefore saying is ‘We cheat and that’s the “done thing” as far as England is concerned’. In this instance Senanayake, by warning, was being kind. Rightfully, though, Sri Lanka need not refer to the warning to buttress justification. Mankaading is legal. That’s it.
The ‘booing point’ however is that Senanayake’s action was brought into question before the final game began. He was the most successful Sri Lankan bowler in the series. His action has been cleared by many on many occasions. This of course doesn’t mean that he cannot or would never again err, but the timing of the complaint is significant. It coincides with England facing a decider.
Is this cricket? Is it politics (as usual)? Here’s an analogy. Sri Lankan security forces were about to vanquish the LTTE in the first few months of 2009. ‘War crimes!’ was the word for ‘Mankaading’ in that context. ‘Not in the spirit of the game’, was the argument, the relevant reference being the Geneva Convention, never mind that the said document is like used toilet paper if the USA and its allies (the UK included) are involved. That match was won, but the Bopara-like whines didn’t stop. In that instance, apart from ‘tokenist’ objection to LTTE’s preferred methodologies of ‘playing the game,’ there was largely silence on what the other side was doing. Like holding some 300,000 civilians hostage, for example. That was the equivalent of doing Buttler’s ‘done thing’. Calling a probe on bowling action, then, is also the ‘done thing’, as ‘done’ as trying to steal a single and as ‘done’ as being horrified when the thief is caught napping.
One thing is certain. The call to hang Sachithra Senanayake will continue. There are Navi Pillay’s in the cricketing world too, after all. Obamas and Camerons too. It’s called ‘doing the done thing’. That’s polite-speak for getting away with cheating and what better way than to pass the cheat-buck back to the enemy, huh?
*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com
Ivor Biggun / June 8, 2014
Wow, like perhaps many, I too was wondering where the catch was in this latest piece of drivel prefaced innocently enough by an incident that happened on a cricket pitch!
Malinda, your argument doesn’t wash mate; for the Mankading that the Government Forces are accused of include the alleged ‘White Flag’ incident which got a lot of coverage under this link posted on a recent CT article (http://white-flags.org) and the others relating to the alleged ‘No Fire’ zones (lots of coverage over the last few years) where many thousand civilians are said to have been brutally shelled.
I hope you are alert and honest enough to accept the difference between war crimes alleged to have been committed by a ruthless terrorist unit and legitimately elected government – they just do not equate.
So, I suggest that your little piece above is more alike the used piece of toilet paper that you probably are used to fondling than the Geneva Convention, regardless of whether or not certain (super) powers choose to observe it in the breach.
Athula / June 8, 2014
Taking of the spirit of the game – how about the new condition brought in by the ICC that England, along with Australia and India, cannot be relegated from test playing status IRRESPECTIVE of how they perform, whilst the lowly countries such as us can be ?
Taking the Sidebottom affair into context – Great Britain, thy middle name must by Hypocrisy
Palayang yako! / June 9, 2014
While you are about talking about the special status of India, England and Australia why don’t you tell us how SL voted at the ICC on the issue? They DID NOT oppose it, in case you forget! Says a lot about your heroic government does it not?
Senarath / June 8, 2014
Ivor Biggun, i have the same feeling what you write.
The Professional / June 8, 2014
Koheda yanne? Malle pol.
Pl understand that that the war against the LTTE Terrorists was not fought nor does the west level allegations against the Government of Sri Lanka in accordance with ICC Laws of Cricket.
Sama / June 9, 2014
Doing the done is being carried out – only by DP, JVP right at the moment. I never supported party politics in the country. But when listening to AnuraKD, I feel – he focuses all the facets – inlcuding that we all should feel like to treat as srialnken – he points out clearly that we have to have come to the level where we just need to address our common problem not being divided to the races, religions or other barriers: That is why I now respect him that much… his talent to focus almost all the facts and figures as they really are – will be a great asset, unique to him.
Ben Hurling / June 9, 2014
You have a very big point about the legendary English hypocrisy. Be assured, I am with you on that one.
However, it is time you paid more attention to youe own hypocrisy.
Howcome you never “Mankad” Rajapassa brothers, their cronies and henchmen?
Are you worried about your life or what you do for a living? If you ever questioned the Rajapassa clan.
Are you a Rajapassa cronie yourself?
Upul / June 8, 2014
I have read with amazement how you can turn a very credible article into an arse-kissing salute to the powers that be! This must be talent you have cultivated because its not easy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, every time. Remember our Poli/Military management skills of the 90’s? Today when we talk about the ‘Victory’ no one recalls the screw ups and unnecessary deaths of entire units and assassinations of commanders. Its all the Rajapakses..
Yes, there is tons of hypocracy to go around from around the world. That is NOT the issue. The fundamental issue is IF orders were given by the CIVILIAN leadership to the MILITARY to fire indiscriminately/kill/eliminate/wipe out what is now known to be a significant civilian population that was mixed up with the LTTE fighters. There is no need to pretend how many were there and then disappeared. We can keep disputing the numbers till the elephants come home ( The few left in the wild). There is that thing call satellite imaging. The yanks are very good at analyzing that shit.
IF the Military can prove it did what it did for purely Military purposes, you and I have not heard anything about it. There must be messaging from HQ to forward commanders what steps to take on an hourly basis during the last few weeks.
Remember, how LOYAL commanders were moved to the front lines during the final push? Oh you forgot? Lets be cynical for a moment, shall we? Why do you think that happened. Why was the in-position unit not tasked to handle the surrender of LTTE leaders ? Instead, Gota hand-picked the unit that handled the process. Wonder why?
lal / June 9, 2014
Tell us about LTTE tactics like suicide bombers, child soldiers, hacking women and children to death, the great leader abandoning his son and escape … Still lost the war! Dumbwits!
Ram / June 8, 2014
Quite. The whole spectacle of TV umpiring, reviewing and re-reviewing whether a man has been run out by a whishker becomes utterly meaningless if the guy at the other end has been able to steal forward some yards before the ball has even been delivered by the bowler. All the eyes are on the batsman and the bowler and NOT on the guy stealing the yards. This was something that should have been looked at when the short form of the game came into being. Now that the ICC has decided in favour of Sri Lanka it should be allowed to rest.
MJA / June 8, 2014
Malinda’s analogy between the running out of Butler and the last tragic days of the war is the most pathetic and disgusting piece of journalism that I read for a long time. Coming from a Editor of a respected English Weekly, this also illustrates the pathetic standard of journalism in Sri Lanka. MJA
Rohan / June 8, 2014
Senanayake’s action …. “His action has been cleared by many on many occasions. ”
Many on Many occasions? Probably once in 2012, but many on many? Umpire NOT reporting does not become being cleared many on many, right?
” Here’s an analogy. Sri Lankan security forces were about to vanquish the LTTE in the first few months of 2009. “
There is a saying in Tamil that “Wherever a dog is hit, it runs with one leg up”. Whatever happens, some people always go to LTTE. Sad, but that is the demonstration of the best of their capacity.
Personally, I am happy with running someone out who takes a lead at the non-striker’s end. I don’t think you have to give a warning. If you violate a rule (or Law), you are can be taken to task.
But, I am happy to go with Bopara’s argument. There are lots of unwritten rules in cricket, mainly tradition, such as not to go for an extra run when the ball ricochets from a batsman.
NAK / June 9, 2014
Bopara’s argument is silly to say the least. Since when the English started treating cheating as the done thing,since they stole our coach? From now on we have to assume that the English will rather try to cheat and win rather than play to win!
I have a gut feeling that this whole episode was pre-planned in order to divert attention from their poor performance and to discredit Sri Lanka’s well earned win.
Mankading is not the done thing only when a batsman inadvertently backs up too early and when keep doing it even after a few warnings is willful cheating and that’s why cricket laws allows running the batsman out when out of crease at delivery.
ken robert / June 8, 2014
‘One thing is certain. The call to hang Sachithra Senanayake will continue. There are Navi Pillay’s in the cricketing world too, after all. Obamas and Camerons too. It’s called ‘doing the done thing’. That’s polite-speak for getting away with cheating and what better way than to pass the cheat-buck back to the enemy, huh?
This is the allegory which won the coveted gratian’s award!
One need to earn his daily bread, but a journalist has to be neutral, looking into allegations and denials, These days oldest profession in the human history is far better than lapdog journalism of yours.
From the outset ‘Sachithra affair’ was an English fiasco which they failed miserably, and Srilankans held their heads high in Edgbaston. The buck stops there.
War between ethnicities is not an mundane affair, that could be paralleled to a cricket match. your interpretations may sound music to some sections of the Sri lankan community, However,there are people who lost their loved ones, because of the stupidity of the both ethnicities, and they need answers.
I honesty does not believe that you have the moral courage to call a spade a spade!
Rohan / June 8, 2014
Huh! Malinda, the social commentator, is only interested in popular topics, I guess. One who claims to be a journalist doesn’t seem to care about what his Northern counterparts go through.
It seems, a journalism workshop conducted for Tamil journalists had to be abandoned for the second time this week. Protesters gathered outside a hotel in Negombo where the training was held. The police forced to cancel the workshop and send the participants away.
It is the second time this journalism training workshop organised by Transparency International was forced to cancel. Previously, the Sri Lankan Army forced to cancel a media workshop in Polannaruwa, focused on covering corruption.
Earlier this year, another training course for journalists organised in Pollanaruwa had to be abandoned as a group of Buddhist monks interrupted the proceedings.
AWARD WINNING Journalist? MY FOOT!!
Anver / June 8, 2014
An excellent article but he should not have brought some other political controversies which are not relevant.
Nishan / June 8, 2014
Will this clown mention that the British sports press and cricket fans overwhelmingly supported the run-out and blamed their own players instead? No he won’t because that won’t fit in with his one dimensional world view.
Senarath / June 8, 2014
Nishan, Don’t you sure that you are clown?
Nishan / June 8, 2014
Yes, I’m sure I am not the clown:
“The Sky Sports pundits all agreed that Jos Buttler was rightly run out for failing to heed Sri Lanka’s warnings.” – http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/9336793/buttler-has-himself-to-blame
Look at the comments by English fans here – http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/jun/03/england-fury-sri-lanka-mankad-run-out-jos-buttler
That’s only 2 exmples. While there are exceptions majority of the press (especially ex-players) and fans online said “serve Butler right for being stupid”.
Hta is the sign of a mature nation that is able to criticism itself.
Justice / June 8, 2014
Here is something interesting for Malinda to Read.
K.A Sumanasekera / June 8, 2014
Come on Milinda.
English don’t cheat ..
Neither they do war crimes, genocide,racial abuse, rape, racial vilification ,bank robberies and don’t even use naughty words like black bastard , terrorist , on cricket players on the field.
Taking one or two yards out of the 22 is a just tactical positioning to save energy and avoid being bumped in to the bowler in case he comes to tackle the batsmen and prevent him taking the run.
Don’t ask Bopara though. Ask a real McCoy like Collongwood.
Afzal / June 8, 2014
It’s got to be a “Dong” for the article. These 2 subjects don’t mix.
mihlar / June 8, 2014
Reading this article, tell me, who doesnt like doing the done thing to Malinda? Right now.
Navin / June 8, 2014
Just wandering what a bribe of a laptop can do……. This toplapper, meaning like to give blow jobs, simply loves that Jarapassa mahalinga.
Sven Perera / June 8, 2014
Doing is the done is misunderstood by Meeharak Rajapakshe (MR)
Doing the done – as everyone with sanity would see it – reenforcement of rule of law and go for fair investigations for any kind of crimes that have risen the head dramatically.
Buddhism Betrayed / June 8, 2014
“Doing the done thing” as referred to by the writer in the “Mankading” incidence with young Sachitra Senanayake on a cricketing field and the “Doing the DUMB thing” in war zone during last stages of the war and covering up our blood soaked hands in the aftermath in violation of Geneva conventions, international law and human rights are not comparable. This write up is a very poor and a dangerous analogy. It is my view that Milinda completely missed the point. Sorry Milinda for saying this. Nothing personal. If you really evaluated your true Buddhist conscious, I bet your write up would have been different on both incidents.
aratai / June 8, 2014
According to “Malinda’s Analogy”,
Srilanka was warned several times to investigate war crimes, but they did not and therefore UN has to take action.
alex f / June 8, 2014
Its because leading Sinhala scholars / writers and thought-leaders choose to trivialise the massacre of over 75,000 tamil that international intervention is a pre-requisite to a lasting solution in sri lanka. an article in extremely poor taste.
Spring Koha / June 8, 2014
How typical of our ‘award’ winning journalist to get his knickers in a twist trying to mix business and pleasure.
Doing the ‘done thing’……..aah if only MR and his military cronies followed this dictum!
Koosil Gunasekaram / June 8, 2014
Laws are laws and can be violated or not. But only a twisted mind can draw any correlation between a casual dilemma on the cricketing field and the plight of hundreds of innocents gasping for life under the ghoulish banner of a white flag. The writer must really be sick.
R.Dias / June 9, 2014
Just because the traffic light indicates GREEN
the driver has no right to run over any person crossing the Road…because he is late to finish the race..
Just because a pedestrian crosses the Road ..not on the PEDESTRIAN CROSSING
does not mean that the driver has the right to run over the person…because he is late to finish the race..
These are classic examples that test the intelligence and the patience of the driver …
just see what happened at the Conflct with the LTTE…
Those who were killed ..were not killed by the Govt Security Forces..but the LTTE themselves…
because the Sri Lankan Army do not know to kill people…they conduct Humanitarian Operations..
and they are Deshapremis..( patriots )
anybody accuse them of War Crimes automatically become a traitor and an Agent / Allies of
West ( US/UK/EU ) conspiring to discredit the securuty Forces…oust the President…Govt..
Because they killed the Tamils..
But all these patriots were murderers in 1987-1989 .when they mercilessly slaughtered
Sinhalese JVP caders in South…
Now …the Cricket…
like the armed conflct against the LTTE…
any action taken to remove a batsmen makes the bowler / fielder a hero ..patriot…
because that action is against Enemies ( the West ) of the Country…
anyone who speak against is a traitor ….
THE MOTTO IS WINNING AT ” ANY COST “
BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BECOME A HERO / PATROT…
SUCH PEOPLE CANNOT USE BRAINS..
Sulaiman / June 9, 2014
Mali Boy, Mankading is legal, war crimes are not. The question of spirit doesn’t arise – were you imbibing some spirits when you wrote this?!!
essie / June 9, 2014
How can a silly cricket match be compared with a disastrous war in which thousands died? The author has slipped- badly!