Year in Review: Mankading to WC final, top 5 cricket controversies of 2019

England cricket team celebrate after defeating New Zealand in World Cup final at Lord's
The year 2019 saw a lot of action in the field of cricket, especially with the four-year one-day international (ODI) gala, the ICC Cricket World Cup, also falling this year. From ball-tampering incidents to the controversial ‘Mankading’ in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, several on-field controversies made headlines during the year.

Business Standard lists top 5 controversies in world cricket during 2019:

ICC World Cup 2019 final

England lifts ICC WC 2019

When England and New Zealand faced each other in the final of ICC World Cup 2019 at the iconic Lord's cricket stadium, it had everything that you expect from the grand finale of a tournament of this nature. However, what happened on the last ball of the match left even the pundits asking for rules of the game to be changed.

The two teams were tied on 241 runs at the end of the match. That resulted in a Super Over, in which New Zealand equalled the 15-run target. But Martin Guptill was run out off the last ball, and that led to another tie. However, England were handed the win on the basis of a so-called ‘boundary countback rule’. England had hit 26 boundaries, against New Zealand's 17; England won their maiden ICC Cricket World Cup title. It was the first time that an ODI final match had required a Super Over to decide the result, and naturally also the first time that the ‘boundary countback’ rule was brought into play. This dramatic match, clearly, was not only a nail-biting thriller but also one of the greatest in the history of the sport.

Well, the real controversy came after the match. Umpire Kumar Dharmasena admitted to have made an error in awarding four overthrow runs to England. Had Dharmasena not made that mistake, there would perhaps been no tie, no super over, and no boundary countback — It would have been New Zealand, not England, celebrating their maiden Word Cup title.


R Ashwin 'Mankading' Jos Butler

Going by the books of cricket, it’s a legitimate manner of dismissal. It has been so for very long. But very few people knew about it until recently. However, it took just one ball in IPL 2019 — and the social media storm that followed — to acquaint the entire world about ‘Mankading’. Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler was left stunned when he was dismissed — Mankaded, really — at the non-striking end by Kings XI Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin. This incident created quite a stir and divided the cricketing fraternity in favour of and against the way of dismissal, also leading to the ‘spirit of the game’ debate.

Even as custodians of cricket laws, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), said Ashwin was under no obligation to warn Jos Buttler before 'Mankading' him, many thought his actions violated the spirit of the game.

Hardik Pandya’s remarks on Koffee with Karan

Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul with Karan Johar

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul courted an unnecessary controversy with their remarks on the TV show Koffee with Karan. While Rahul chose his words carefully, Pandya was seen bragging unabashedly about his relationships with multiple women. Pandya apologised for his comments later, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) put both cricketers under provisional suspension and asked them to return home from the ongoing Australia series. Indian cricket veterans like Sunil Gavaskar and Harbhajan Singh also slammed the duo for their unauthorised appearance on the show and their controversial remarks.

Ball tampering

Screen grab from the India vs Australia ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 match in which Adam Zampa (pictured) was alleged to have tampered the ball.

There were claims that Australia’s Adam Zampa tampered with the ball during the second match of the ICC cricket World Cup 2019 against India. In videos that later went viral on social media, Zampa was seen putting his hand in his left pocket before shinning the ball. His team, however, clarified that Zampa used a hand warmer, as he had often done before during the Australia’s domestic Big Bash League. There was no official investigation against Zampa and umpires did not raise any concerns.

However, the Windies cricket team’s Nicholas Pooran, against whom similar allegations were made in November 2019, was not as lucky. He was charged with tampering the ball during his team’s third ODI against Afghanistan and, after pleading guilty, banned for four T20I matches.

Prithvi Shaw’s suspension for ‘doping’

Prithvi Shaw

Young India cricket team opening batsman Prithvi Shaw was handed a backdated suspension of eight months for a doping violation in the 2018-19 domestic season. The right-handed batsman was said to have inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, found commonly in cough syrups. Shaw provided a urine sample as part of the BCCI’s anti-doping testing programme during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match on February 22 in Indore. He served a ban and made a comeback only in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy against Assam on November 15.


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