The ICC World Cup 2019 is currently underway and is creating big waves. Only a few matches have been played but the excitement level is at an all-time high and people are only getting more excited for the coming matches.
The last 11 editions of the tournament have witnessed their fair share of high and low moments. While the record breaking and making constitute the high points, some of the low points include controversies that baffled everyone. Take a look at the top five controversies:
1. Rain, Rain Go Away! – 1992
The 1992 Cricket World Cup was truly a memorable tournament. It was the first World Cup to feature coloured clothing for the teams and white cricket balls replaced the red ones. It was also the first World Cup to feature the Rain Rule, it would also be the last. The brainchild of Richie Benaud among other experts, the rule stated that in rain-affected matches in which the overs had to be adjusted, the least-productive overs from the side who batted first would be discounted. During the 1992 semifinals, South Africa faced off against England. With 252 to chase, the South Africa team gave a good fight until rains stopped the play, needing 22 off 13 balls. The showers ate up nearly 12 minutes of playtime and when the match resumed, the target was reduced to 21 runs from one ball!
2. Riots at Eden Garden – 1996
During the 1996 Cricket World Cup semi-finals, India was playing against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. India was chasing a target of 252 but fell to 120 for 8 and defeat seemed imminent. Rather than waiting it out till the end and watching the Indian team lose, fans decided to show their disappointment by flinging water bottles onto the field and setting fire in the stands. The match referee Clive Lloyd halted the match for 15 minutes to try to get the crowd to calm down and to let security bring things under control but to no avail. With no hope of getting the crowd under control, the Sri Lankan team was awarded the match.
3. The Zimbabwe Protest – 2003
The 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup was being co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. This edition of the World Cup was the first to be played in Africa. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe was facing political and security issues at the time. Then-Zimbabwe skipper Andy Flower and pacer Henry Olonga in a statement released to the media confirmed that they would be wearing black armbands to protest against Robert Mugabe’s presidency. Due to the political discord in the country, England faced a great deal of domestic pressure to boycott their match in Zimbabwe, citing fears for the players’ safety. Similarly, New Zealand decided against playing in Kenya because of security fears. Both, England and New Zealand were unable to progress in that year’s tournament.
4. Shane Warne is Banned – 2003
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga sporting black bands were not the only controversies that turned heads in the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. Right before Australia’s opening game, star spinner Shane Warne tested positive to banned diuretic drugs. Also known as Moduretic, it is mostly used to treat hypertension, fluid retention, and high blood pressure. The drug was banned because it can also act as a masking agent for steroids. The Australian cricket team, however, was quick to recover from the blow and went on to lift the title that year. Warne, however, had to return home immediately and was banned for a year.
5. A Controversial Death – 2007
Pakistan had a difficult time at West Indies during the 2007 World Cup. The day after Pakistan vs. Ireland group match on, Bob Woolmer, the coach of Pakistani Cricket Team was found dead on 18 March 2007 in his hotel room at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston. On 22 March, Jamaican police announced confirmation that a murder investigation had been launched based on a pathologist’s report stating that he had died of asphyxia via manual strangulation. There were a number of theories regarding what happened. Mafia involvement was alleged. One of the theories was that Woolmer was livid after the match and he was murdered so he wouldn’t publicize Pakistan’s alleged match-fixing.