"Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game". This is what Ricky Ponting's opposing captain Anil Kumble had to say at the post match press conference after the infamous Sydney Test of India's 2007-08 tour Down Under. One need not provide clarification as to which team the Indian skipper was referring to.
Mankading: A never ending debate
Fast forward to the present day, when Ricky Ponting, in his current capacity as the coach of the Delhi Capitals, says that he plans to have a "hard conversation" with their new recruit Ravichandran Ashwin about the off spinner's act of running Jos Buttler out at the non-striker's end in the previous edition of the IPL.
The incident which brought Ashwin a lot of scrutiny last year has always been a topic of debate in cricketing circles with the fraternity divided in two halves.
While one faction believes that the bowler is well within his rights to run out the non-striker who is outside his crease and looking to gain undue advantage, the other argues that the act goes against the spirit of the gentleman's game.
However, the one body that is not divided and whose opinion actually matters is the Marylebone Cricket Club World Cricket Committee which governs the laws of the game and brings about amendments to them from time to time.
A non-striker who is out of his crease before the point of release is either taking an advantage or is acting carelessly, and runs the risk of being legitimately run out
Stated above is the official stance of cricket's apex governing body on the Mankading rule and therefore should be enough to put an end to all debates surrounding the same.
The committee that issued this statement was chaired by former English captain Mike Brearley, while also featuring the likes of Rod Marsh, Sourav Ganguly, Ramiz Raja, Charlotte Edwards, Shaun Pollock, David Richardson and Ricky Ponting.
Ricky Ponting's tryst with the ungentlemanly side of cricket
Yes, you read that correct. This is the same Ricky Ponting who captained Australia in the SCG Test of 2008 which involved the Monkeygate scandal.
It the the same Ricky Ponting who raised his finger and asked Ganguly to be on his way back after falsely claiming a catch taken by teammate Michael Clarke.
It is the same Ricky Ponting who refused to walk after edging the ball unless the umpire's raised finger forced him to and urged his teammates to do the same.
It is the same Ricky Ponting who was a part of the committee that cleared it's stance on the rule. And he now voices his opinion about an established rule as being a threat to the spirit of the game.
The former World Cup-winning captain exemplifies the proverbial saying of irony dying a thousand deaths by saying that "that's not the way we will be playing our cricket."
Much ado about nothing
Why is there so much hullabaloo for something so insignificant? When shorter boundaries and thicker bats never become the topic of unending debates, and when the benefit of the doubt always goes to the batsman, then why shall a simple rule which nothing but prevents them from taking undue advantage garner such attention?
After all, the sport that we are all in love with is not a 'batsman's game', but a gentleman's game.