Cricket: How India and Sri Lanka Almost Ruined the Gentleman's Game

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 21, 2012

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Umesh Yadav of India celebrates with team mate Virender Sehwag after taking the wicket of Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka during game eight of the One Day International Series between India and Sri Lanka at The Gabba on February 21, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Cricket was almost changed forever in the One Day International match between India and Sri Lanka—and not for the better either.

Sri Lanka were cruising really at 4/196 with 10 overs remaining in the match when Ravi Ashwin, as he was bowling to Angelo Mathews, Mankad-ed Lahiru Thirimanne.

Mankad-ed, I hear you ask?

As Ashwin was coming in to bowl, he stopped his delivery and knocked off the bails at the non-striker's end because Thirimanne was out of his crease.

According to the rules of cricket, Ashwin is well within his rights to appeal, and if the appeal is lodged formally, then Thirimanne must be given out.

However, according to the ethics of the game, you just don't do it; the exception being when you warn the batsman about creeping down the pitch and if he continues to do so, then the run-out is allowed.

But it does raise an interesting point as to who monitors the rules of cricket. Or rather, who monitors the ethics of cricket? Can you monitor them?

Thirimanne was 45 not out at the time, with a strike rate of 100 and clearly the danger man for Sri Lanka. Get him out and India will restrict Sri Lanka to a smaller total, which may in turn win them the match.

Now fortunately for everyone, the wise head of Sachin Tendulkar probably made sure this appeal didn't go through, and everyone went back to play as normal.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21:  Mahela Jayawardena of Sri Lanka hits the ball to the boundary for a four during game eight of the One Day International Series between India and Sri Lanka at The Gabba on February 21, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Phot
Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

But for one fleeting moment, it did look like the ethics of the once-called gentleman's game were going to be outdone by the rules of the game.

If you thought we'd come a long way since the infamous "underarm" incident between Australia and New Zealand, you'd be right, but only to an extent.

The Ashwin-Thirimanne incident almost brought cricket back 20 years and very nearly reopened a closet that should have been bolted shut a long time ago.

Just goes to show that when a side is losing, they truly will do anything to get themselves a win—even if that means abandoning all the ethics and morals of a game to do so.

Because at the end of the day, winning truly is everything.

No side will ever be measured by how they played the World Cup final; they will only be measured by whether they won the final or not.

Let's just be thankful that despite his lack of runs this summer, Sachin Tendulkar had enough common sense to urge the captain Virender Sehwag to withdraw the appeal.

For if he hadn't, then that truly would be a disaster—not just for India, but for the progress of cricket worldwide.