World Cup leaves a trail of controversies

World Cup leaves a trail of controversies


World Cup leaves a trail of controversies

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By Anees-ur-Rehman 

After 45 days of intense cricket, the World Cup 2023 concluded in India on Sunday after Australia emerged victorious against the host team. 

The Aussies stunned the formidable host in the presence of over 120,000-strong charged crowd as they lifted the trophy for the record sixth time.

Amid the thrilling performances, historic victories and tumbling records, this edition of cricket world cup has been marked by controversies that sparked debates and shook the cricketing fraternity.

From controversial umpiring decisions to off-field disputes, uncalled for events grabbed the spotlight, adding twists to the much-anticipated event. 

Let’s have a look at the prominent controversies which gripped the mega tournament.

Modi ‘snubs’ Pat Cummins 

The latest controversy erupted when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemingly ‘snubbed’ Australian captain Pat Cummins during the prize-distribution ceremony.

In the viral video, a visibly dejected Modi is seen handing over the world cup trophy to the Australian captain and leaving the presentation stage without shaking hands.

Pat Cummins was left looking lost on stage after this act of Modi. After the presentation, though, Modi left the stage to shake the hands with the remaining Australian players.

This left Cummins stood alone on the podium. 

Umpires booed in final 

Another disgraceful incident happened at the closing ceremony when on-field umpires Richard Kettleborough and Richard Illingworth were called to the podium to receive their mementos and they were booed by the crowd for no apparent reason.

There were no particular controversial calls made during the final match. It was one of several acts from the crowd that have caused outrage.

'Pitch switch' controversy 

Ahead of the first semi-final between India and New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium, another controversy hit the world cup when a few reports emerged that the pitch was changed at the last moment. 

The reports claimed that the decision was taken to give advantage to the Indian team in the knockout match. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) clarified that the independent pitch consultant, Andy Atkinson, was taken into confidence on the change of surface.

"Changes to planned pitch rotations are common towards the end of an event of this length and have already happened a couple of times. This change was made on the recommendation of the venue curator in conjunction with our host," the ICC said in a statement.

Coin toss 

After the pitch row, a number of social media users claimed that the crucial toss of the semi-final between India and New Zealand was also 'fixed' to favour the Indian side.

The netizens claimed that Indian captain Rohit Sharma deliberately tossed the coin in a way that rolled away too far and Kiwis skipper Kane Williamson couldn’t see the outcome of the toss.

Angelo Mathews timed out 

Veteran Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews became the first batsman in the 146-year history of international cricket to be dismissed timed out, leading to another world cup controversy.

The Lankan player was adjudged timed out for taking more than two minutes to face the first ball during their World Cup clash against Bangladesh in Delhi on Nov 6. Bangladesh defeated Sri Lanka by three wickets.

When Mathews arrived at the crease, he realised that the strap of his helmet was broken and asked for a new helmet. The delay prompted Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan to appeal and the umpires upheld it despite Mathews's repeated pleas.

However, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodian of the rules of the game, ruled in the favour of umpires, saying Mathews could have avoided getting dismissed in that fashion by consulting the officials before asking for a new helmet.

'Umpire's call' in Pakistan vs South Africa match

The umpire's call, one of cricket's most ambiguous laws, came under spotlight during Pakistan’s match against South Africa.

The DRS played a crucial role in South Africa's narrow one-wicket victory over Pakistan. The Proteas suffered a dramatic collapse and were reduced to 260/9 in their pursuit of 271.

After dismissing Lungi Ngidi, Haris Rauf struck the ball on Tabraiz Shamsi’s pads and made a huge appeal, but the on-field umpire ruled in favour of the batter. Pakistan reviewed the decision which turned out in favour of Proteas on umpire’s call.

Later, the African side scored five runs off the two balls of Nawaz and sealed the victory.

Irfan Pathan’s dance on Afghanistan’s win over Pakistan

Afghanistan registered an emphatic win over Pakistan by eight wickets, marking their first-ever win in ODIs against the Men in Green.

After the match, former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who is working as a broadcaster, joined Afghan spinner Rashid Khan on the field to show dance moves.

This move did not go well with the Pakistani cricket fans as they trolled the former Indian pacer over his biased emotions.