Australian bowler Mitchell Starc has copped backlash after warning England captain Jos Buttler about backing up at the non-striker’s end during the third T20 in Canberra.
During the fifth over of Friday evening’s rain-affected match at Manuka Oval, Starc told the rival skipper not to leave his crease before the delivery release, referencing Indian spinner Deepti Sharma.
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“I’m not Deepti, but I can do it,” Starc was overheard saying on the stump mics.
“Doesn’t mean you can leave your crease early.”
Buttler replied: “I don’t think I did.”
However, replays showed that Buttler had indeed left his crease marginally early.
Sharma dominated headlines last month when she ran out England’s Charlie Dean at the non-striker’s end – an act colloquially known as a “Mankad” – to help India secure a 3-0 series whitewash in their bilateral ODI series.
The dismissal divided the cricket world – although running out the non-striker is permitted in the game’s Laws, many consider it against the Spirit of Cricket.
Earlier this year, Marylebone Cricket Club, the sport’s custodians and lawmakers, moved running out the non-striker from the “Unfair Play” section to Law 38, officially destigmatising the controversial dismissal.
Starc’s remark caused a stir on social media, with former Indian cricketer Hemang Badan tweeting: “Grow up Starc. That’s really poor from you. If you only want to warn the non-striker and not get him out that’s fine and your decision to make but you bringing Deepti into this isn’t what the cricket world expects of you.”
Last year, Starc also warned Australian teammate Marnus Labuschagne about staying in his crease during a Sheffield Shield match.
Australian captain Aaron Finch was asked about the incident in the post-match press conference, but claimed he did not see it take place.
“I think if batters get a warning, then it‘s fair game after that, and that would go for most teams, I would assume,” he told reporters.
“I’m not a big fan of it, personally.”
But Finch dodged questions on whether he’d be comfortable if one of his teammates attempted a “Mankad” dismissal.
England bowler Chris Woakes echoed the Australian skipper’s comments: “In my eyes, this was the best way to go about it. I personally wouldn’t run someone out in that way, or Mankad them if you want to call it that, but I’ve got no issue with giving guys warnings.”
Buttler has been dismissed via the “Mankad” twice in his professional career, most notably by spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin during the 2019 Indian Premier League.
England won the bilateral T20 series against Australia 2-0 after the finale was abandoned due to weather.