In terms of cricketing action, 2019 produced some of the finest battles on the cricket pitch. In fact, this year saw many things that were unprecedented in the history of one of the most loved sports around the world. Although England won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final, their first World Cup final ever, it was surrounded by controversies. MS Dhoni wearing the ‘Balidaan’ insignia gloves also raised eyebrows.
Let us have a look at these and some of the other big controversies revolving around Cricket in 2019.
The ‘Bails’ that won’t fall
A rather strange incident happened in the Indian Premier League 2019. On many instances throughout the tournament, although the ball had clearly hit the wickets, the bails simply were not dislodged. This did not happen in either one or two matches but in multiple matches of the tournament.
One such moment is worth highlighting. This was a match between Chennai Super Kings and the Kings XI Punjab at the former’s home venue. On one particular Ravindra Jadeja delivery of the 13th over, KL Rahul wanted to run a single but a superb throw from MS Dhoni behind the stumps run him out. In replays, it was clearly evident that Rahul reached the crease after the ball had hit the stumps but he was adjudged not out since the bails had not been dislodged although they lit up when the ball hit the wicket.
Such repeated instances led to the creation of many memes and trolls on the Internet.
MS Dhoni donning the Balidaan badge on his wicketkeeping gloves
The Army insignia, or the “Balidaan badge”, was spotted on Dhoni’s gloves when MS Dhoni effected a stumping to help India pick up a wicket in the 40th over of the South African innings in India’s World Cup opening match on Wednesday, June 5, 2019.
Dhoni was conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Para Special Forces regiment some eight years ago and also underwent training with the forces in 2015 and even joined them for a brief period after India’s World Cup exit.
The ICC rule which allows only two manufacturer identifications at the back of each glove was challenged when Dhoni had the Army insignia symbol on his wicket keeping gloves.
What is this ICC Rule
Section G1 under Clothing and Equipment category of the ICC rules states “Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey messages through armbands or other items affixed to clothing or equipment (“Personal Messages”) unless approved in advance by both the player or team official’s board and the ICC Cricket Operations Department. Approval shall not be granted for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes. The ICC shall have the final say in determining whether any such message is approved. For the avoidance of doubt, where a message is approved by the player or team official’s board but subsequently disapproved by the ICC’s Cricket Operations Department, the player or team official shall not be permitted to wear, display or otherwise convey such message in international matches.”
As a result, ICC denied Dhoni permission to wear these gloves.
Indian players donning the Army caps
In March this year, one particular encounter garnered attention when all the Indian players on the ground played the match while donning the Indian army caps. The match was being played at the Dhoni’s home ground. This made the match all the more special for Mahi.
The reason for wearing the cap was giving tribute to the Indian army and Dhoni was one of the main reasons why the team decided to wear the caps. It is being reported that every team, the team will play one encounter in which they will don these caps as a tribute to the Indian army. However, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had objected to Indian players wearing these caps.
When captain cool lost his calm
The 25th match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was full of controversies. The match was being played between Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings. CSK managed to win the match by 4 wickets eventually. However, arguing with the on-field umpire while the match was on cost MS Dhoni big time.
For the uninitiated, a controversial no-ball decision forced Dhoni to lose his calm. He rushed from the dugout to the field to argue and have a word with the umpire. He was later found guilty of the violation of code of conduct level 2. 50% of his match fees was deducted. Many thought, that it was not as harsh a punishment as he deserved since he could have been handed a 2 match ban for the same offence.
Ambati Rayudu’s 3D
Ambati Rayudu has been an enigmatic episode in Indian cricket. A couple of months prior to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Rayudu seemed to be a confirmed name in the list of players who would go on to play the World Cup. However, Ambati Rayudu was not selected in the last minute and chief selector MSK Prasad while selecting Vijay Shankar over Rayudu in the World Cup squad justified that Vijay Shankar is a three-dimensional cricketer since he can contribute with the bat, ball, in addition to being an exceptional fielder.
Rayudu later responded with a cheeky tweet that read that he has ordered a 3D glass to enjoy the ICC Cricket World Cup.
A World Cup final which will perhaps be told as stories to grandchildren
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 attracted the attention of one and all. In particular, the final played between England and New Zealand, both fighting for their maiden title was quite easily an unforgettable encounter. The match reinforced the old saying that Cricket is indeed a game of uncertainties.
England won the match not by wickets or runs but by merely an arbitrary rule which stated that the side with more boundaries shall be declared the winner. Both the teams ended up scoring exactly the same number of runs in not only the quota of 50 overs but also the super over.
The final over of the final match also saw a throw from Martin Guptill which deflected off the bat of Ben Stokes and reached the boundary. England were awarded 6 runs and that shifted the momentum of the match.
Never again will a winner be declared on the basis of the boundary count rule since ICC changed the rule later but for millions of New Zealand fans, it was a heartbreaking defeat.
However, New Zealand was awarded the MCC Spirit of Cricket Award, later for their sporting conduct after a disappointing defeat. New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson received a standing ovation from the media after his post-match press conference and although England were named the eventual champions, New Zealand won hearts.