‘It’s part of the game’ – Harmanpreet defends Deepti running out Dean

Harmanpreet Kaur contended that no “crime” had been committed. England were “not fans”. The two opposing views summed up the divide that inevitably follows the dismissal of a batter who is run out while backing up.

So when Deepti Sharma held the ball as she started her action with Charlie Dean out of her ground and broke the bails to seal victory for India by 16 runs and a 3-0 ODI series sweep at Lord’s on Saturday, it was met with booing as well as cheers among the crowd of 15,187.

Dean had scored a fighting 47 batting at No. 9 and shared a 35-run stand with No. 11 Freya Davies to put England within reach of what had looked like being an unlikely win when the hosts had slumped to 65 for 7 chasing 170.

“Today whatever we have done I don’t think it was any crime,” Harmanpreet said during her post-match press conference. “It is part of the game and it is an ICC rule and I think we just need to back our player.

“I’m actually very happy she was aware of that, and the batter she is taking too long a stride I think. I don’t think she has done something wrong and we just need to back her.”

Harmanpreet also suggested her team had been hard done by when Sophie Ecclestone took a catch to dismiss opener Smriti Mandhana in the third match of their T20I series, which England won 2-1, that touched the ground but was deemed to have been controlled beforehand and therefore legal.

She also rejected suggestions that the incident detracted from Jhulan Goswami’s final match of an international career spanning two decades.

“I don’t think so because, like I said, I don’t think we have done any crime,” Harmanpreet said. “It’s part of the ICC rules, it’s called a run-out and we’ve done that.

“I don’t think we need to talk about that because the first nine wickets were also very important and everybody was working so hard. It was a chaseable total but the way our bowlers bowled and the whole team putting in the effort, there were a lot of things to celebrate other than just talking about the last wicket.”

Kate Cross, England’s senior seamer who took 4 for 26 to help bowl India out for 169 inside 46 overs, said it was a mode of dismissal she would not use.

“Losing any game of cricket is disappointing,” she said. “Ultimately it’s Deepti’s choice how she goes about that, and we’ve lost that game of cricket. What we did say in the dressing room was that we didn’t lose that game of cricket because of that last wicket.

“I think it’s a dismissal that’s always going to divide opinion. That’s all that’s ever going to get said about it: some people are going to like it, some people aren’t. Deepti chose to dismiss Charlie Dean that way. I’m more disappointed for Charlie Dean that she couldn’t get a fifty at Lord’s today because she looked set to do that.

“If we’re looking at the real positives, then maybe that’s the only way they could have got Deano out today.”

After an initial show of anger, throwing her bat to the ground and shaking her head with tears streaming down her face, Dean composed herself and walked over to the Indian team huddle to shake their hands.

“That’s professional sport,” Cross said of Dean’s reaction. “Everyone is human before they’re a cricketer, whatever sport they play. The emotion is always what you get first, and it’s how you react to that.

“I thought Deano was absolutely brilliant – the way she went over and shook hands immediately. If you’re talking about the spirit of cricket, I thought that was just fantastic from Deano.”

Amy Jones, England’s stand-in captain throughout India’s tour with regular skipper Heather Knight recovering from hip surgery and vice-captain Nat Sciver taking a mental health break, echoed Cross’s disapproval of the dismissal.

“Obviously not happy with the result,” Jones told Sky Sports. “We bowled really well and we just needed a bigger partnership in the middle. The last wicket divides opinion, not a fan, but depends on how India feel about it. It is within the rules… Disappointing but hopefully doesn’t take shine off a what was a good summer and a good series in the end.”

In March, the MCC changed the wording that covers a player being run out by the bowler while backing up – often referred to as Mankading – moving it from Law 41 (Unfair play) to Law 38 (Run out). The change, due to come into force next month, attempts to remove some of the stigma around such dismissals.

Cross added: “It’s going to divide opinion and it’s going to get talked about. There are a lot of things that are going to get talked about as well – Jhulan’s last game is a massive thing in Indian cricket, and for her to retire at Lord’s is a very special occasion for her and the Indian team. Them winning the series 3-0… there’s a lot to talk about and a lot to dissect.

“From our point of view, we were 2-0 down going into this, we’d lost the series already. We were out there to win [ICC women’s] championship points and we didn’t lose that game by losing that 10th wicket there… The game was lost because we weren’t able to keep them to 150 and then we weren’t able to build those partnerships earlier on and back for a little bit longer.”

Cross could have had her own piece of history at Lord’s, hosting its first women’s international since England defeated India in the 2017 World Cup final. She bowled brilliantly to remove India’s top four and then returned to the attack towards the end of their innings, only to fall one wicket shy of her third international five-for.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to get a better chance to get my name on the honours board than having a four-for bowling at No. 11,” Cross said. “But what frustrated me most about not being able to get the five-for was that it felt like an opportunity that we don’t get often.

“It feels like probably a wider picture, but it feels like in women’s cricket, when you get these opportunities you have to take them because you don’t know when the next game is going to be at the home of cricket.

“Hopefully that’s what’s going to start changing. We’ve seen that with the way that the Ashes fixtures have come out and we’re playing at some really high-profile grounds. But it definitely felt like when I was on the four-for I was probably thinking about it a little bit too much.

“But you know what? The girls were unbelievable. All of them came up to me and said I’ve never wanting someone to get a five-for more which was really sweet. But yeah, not to be.”

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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