– Cricketing world condemns West Indies for ‘robbing’ Zim
– Uproar could force change to game’s laws
THE cricketing world on Tuesday spoke in unison to condemn West Indies over a highly controversial defeat of Zimbabwe at the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, a result that has cost the African side a place at in the tournament’s quarter-finals.
Zimbabwe lost by two runs through what is known in the game as “mankad” – a dismissal method in which the bowler can run-out the batting team’s non-striker. The method is, however, rarely used and widely seen by fans and players of the game alike as un-sportsmanlike conduct, and, as in this case, cheating.
Among the game’s leading figures leading the chorus of condemnation against the West Indies on Tweeter were Australia coach Darren Lehmann, England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan and former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor – who have all described West Indies’ win as “disgraceful, embarrassing, and unbelievable.”
The Zimbabwean teenagers just needed three runs to win in the final over in Chittagong, with just one wicket in hand.
West Indies bowler Keemo Paul delivered the first ball of the 50th over and then run-out Zimbabwe’s non-striker Richard Ngarava.
It was clear, watching the replay, that Paul never intended to bowl. He successfully “mankaded” Ngarava, whose bat was on the line when the bails were removed.
Ngarava was duly given out.
“Disgraceful behaviour in the U19CWC. WI’s should be embarrassed!!”, Tweeted England captain Eoin Morgan.
Supersport presenter Derek Alberts added his voice: “Can’t believe what I’ve just seen! Embarrassing! #CWCU19.”
Brendan Taylor, the former Zimbabwe captain now playing for Nottinghamshire on the English County circuit, wrote: “Disgraceful! Just remember this great game has a funny way in biting you in the back side.”
Darren Lehmann, Australia’s coach, said Ngarava should not have been given out, Tweeting: “Unbelievable , Not out #U19CWC https.”
Jos Buttler, England’s wicketkeeper-batsman, was also not impressed: “Can’t believe what I’ve just seen! Embarrassing! #CWCU19.”
Piers Morgan, the popular British television personality, joined the tirade against the West Indies team.
“Disgraceful piece of mankad cheating by West Indies U19s – shame on them,” Tweeted Morgan.Advertisement
Although legal under laws governing the game, in cricket such practices as mankading are viewed with contempt and disdain in a game that places so much value on sportsmanship.
“I can’t support what just happened in the #U19CWC @ICC perhaps a decision taken without thought… #sportsmanship,” Tweeted former South Africa batsman Alviro Peterson.
“Absolute rubbish to win a game like this, appalling from West Indies !!!! Just not right @ICC,” said Jon Kent, another ex-Protea.
The uproar could force world cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), to relook some of the laws of the game, especially ones that have potential to unfairly influence outcome of matches.
“Please tell me this is not how the next generation of cricketers are going to play the game!! What a disgrace!!,” Paul Harris, the Zimbabwean-born former South Africa spinner, piled on the pressure on the ICC in his Tweet.
Ian Bishop, the former West Indies wicketkeeper, was however among those in the minority to support the Caribbean side’s unpopular move.
In response to a Twitter by former Zimbabwe international Mluleki Nkala, Bishop wrote: “@mnkala21 The negligence has to stop at some point. The law is the law. Why should young cricketers feel bad for following the law?”
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s coach, told ESPNCricinfo that his young charges broke down in tears after the match.
“I have debriefed the boys in the dressing room and they were all crying,” Mangongo said.
“We have explained that technically the run-out is legal. We left it to the last man and we should not have done that. It was a hard lesson and they have learnt it the hard way.
“I am proud of my boys. Restricting the West Indies for 226 on a batting-friendly wicket was a good performance and we were up for the chase. And like any other games, we lost quick wickets under pressure.
West Indies coach Graeme West said he felt sorry for Zimbabwe after the game. “I can imagine what they must be going through now.
“I feel sorry for them because they got themselves into winning positions and then we pulled it back. I share their disappointment.”