Australian spin legend and Rajasthan Royals brand ambassador Shane Warne came down heavily on Ravichandran Ashwin in a series of tweets for ‘Mankading’ Jos Buttler during the Indian Premier League match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

The incident sparked off a huge debate. In the 13th over the Rajasthan innings, the Kings XI Punjab skipper Ashwin ran out Rajasthan Royals’ Buttler, who was at the non-strikers’ end without warning him earlier.

Buttler was going strong at 69 off 43 balls and Rajasthan steady at 108/1 while chasing 185 but the dismissal proved to be a game-changer. The 2008 champions lost wickets at regular intervals and fell 14 short of the Punjab total.

Informally coined after former India all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, who first did it in 1947 against Australia, ‘Mankading’ is a term used when a bowler dismisses the non-striker by removing the bails while delivering the ball with the batsman caught outside the crease. Though this is a legally permissible dismissal, it is widely considered against the spirit of the game.

A livid Buttler had a heated exchange with Ashwin before leaving the field and the incident sparked the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ debate.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, which is the custodian of cricket laws, had made subtle changes to the rules on running out of non-strikers by bowlers in their run-up in 2017. The law gives bowlers the right to run out the non-striker up to the instant at which they “would be expected to deliver the ball”.

However, Warne said what Ashwin did was embarrassing. “And to all the people (including ex players) saying it’s in the laws of the game, but you don’t like what he did and you wouldn’t do it – I ask you this “why wouldn’t you?”. Simple answer – it’s disgraceful and embarrassing plus it’s against the spirit of the game !,” he wrote.

Warne also tagged India and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in his tweet, asking if people would have supported this act if Kohli was at the receiving end from England’s Ben Stokes.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan echoed Warne’s sentiment. “I would say to all India ex players/pundits who are supportive of what R Ashwin did....If Virat Kohli was batting, would you be so supportive?”

The man who originally did it was criticised for his actions but Mankad had received support from an unlikely source batting great and then Australian captain Sir Don Bradman.