We’re at the end of 2015 for now. As the years progressed, cricket kept evolving along with it. The game started bringing out new innovations, new rules and along with all these positive activities, controversies followed suit. Even controversies evolved throughout the years.
Now, controversy’s field of the boundary was pushed far beyond from the times when two players fighting were considered as the biggest controversies. Incidents involving other important people like officials, groundsmen or even the pitches for that matter, were dragged into the arguments. For example, Indian management lodged a complaint against home umpire Vineet Kulkarni for putting down as much as 4 decisions during the India-South Africa limited over series which the home team ultimately lost. Had the decisions been given otherwise, India would had been in control of the matches, which record books now show South Africa winning the same.
With the increasing amount and variety of controversy day by day, we look at the Top 10 controversies of 2015 –
10. Yasir’s ‘Dope Shope’ not appreciated by ICC
Pakistan’s bowling sensation Yasir Shah failed the dope test, conducted on 13th November 2015, by the International Cricket Council (ICC). “Shah has been charged with an anti-doping rule violation on a sample he provided in an in-competition test,” an ICC statement announced. “The test, conducted on 13 November 2015, was found to contain the presence of chlortalidone, a Prohibited Substance which appears in Section 5 of the World Anti-Doping Agency list (in the category of Specified Substances).” The leg-spinner was going strong in replacing Saeed Ajmal since the bowler’s action was reported and has failed to regain his wicket-taking ability with the new one. Shah took 12 wickets in Pakistan’s 2-0 win against Australia last year before playing a key role in this year’s 2-1 Test series win in Sri Lanka with 24 wickets. Shah has so far taken 76 wickets in 12 Tests and became the fastest to complete 50 wickets in nine Tests — a record for Pakistan. He could face a possible ban of two to four years. The latest doping fails also include wicket-keeper batsman for Sri Lanka – Kusal Perera, where he was tested positive during the Test, which was conducted just before his team played their 1st Test against New Zealand, this month.
9. Politics before Ind-Pak series
Politics got the better of cricket when India-Pakistan’ series got cancelled due to political tensions between the countries. Boards of both countries had agreed to play on a neutral venue of Sri Lanka during the last phases of December 2015, just before India’s tour of Australia in January 2016. With Pakistani Prime Minister’s nod under the belt, it was all upon Indian Prime Minister from whom a go-ahead remained due. Disappointing the cricket fans. Modi failed to provide the nod, reasoning sensitive political issues and hence the much awaited Indo-Pak series came to an end before it even started. PCB would incur a huge financial loss of around USD 85 million as they failed to recover the amount given to broadcasters for their rights.
8. Pitch enters the controversy scene
India won the 3rd Test against South Africa in Nagpur by ending the match within 3 days. Massive cracks on the surface meant life was about to be difficult for the batsmen batting second and it didn’t disappoint. Indian spinners took all 20 wickets of a South African batsman in the low-scoring tie. ICC rated the Nagpur pitch as “poor” and also issued a warning to avoid coming up with such dry and turning pitches. Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar stated that it would be “virtually impossible” to bat for the team batting second.
7. Gambhir-Manoj in wrestling mood
Indian discards Gautam Gambhir and Manoj Tiwary were involved in an on-field spat during their group stage between Delhi and Bengal in their Vijay Hazare Trophy encounter. Gambhir had an angry exchange of words, more specifically to Gambhir saying: “Shaam ko mil tujhe maroonga” (Meet me in the evening, I’ll hit you). And Tiwary retorted, saying: “Shaam kya abhi bahar chal” (Why to wait till the evening, let go outside now). Gambhir, with his fists raised, charged towards Tiwary, who was also not ready to back down. The Delhi captain did not pay heed to umpire’s attempts at pacifying him and tried to get him out of the way. Both were left with a warning by the governing body. More recently, media hyped up a scene where Gambhir didn’t shake hands with Dhoni by mistake, during the quarterfinals of the Vijay Hazare Trophy. The left-hander soon rubbished all rumors by posting a pic on Twitter which shows both World-Cup winning players shaking hands as soon as the last wicket fell and Delhi won the match against Jharkhand.
6. 160kmph? Medium-fast bowlers got it
New Zealand speedster Neil Wagner was reported to have clocked over a 160kmph delivery in the 1st Test against Sri Lanka at Dunedin. Averaging at 135-140kmph, broadcasters showed that Wagner had bowled a delivery at a speed that very few have been able to achieve. On confirming with officials, they stated that a low-flying bird had hampered their technology of measuring speed and hence was just a technical glitch. Another Medium-Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood might had also bowled the fastest bowl in cricketing history when his ball was clocked at 164kmph. The Boxing Day Test against West Indies surprised everyone with this incidence. Later reports from officials confirmed that a low-moving projective – possibly a seagull had to be attributed for the incorrect speed.
5. Stokes Obstructs the field!
Ben Stokes has become just the sixth batsman, and first England player, to be given out obstructing the field in a one-day international. The incident occurred in the 26th over of England’s chase at Lord’s when Stokes reacted to a shy at the stumps by the bowler, Mitchell Starc, by sticking out a glove as he spun away from the throw. Obstructing the throw which could had possibly turned out to be a direct hit, Stokes was declared out by the on-field umpires on the cause of obstructing the field. Stokes was later reported saying “I didn’t put my hand there willfully, it was purely out of human reaction to protect myself. But the decision was made, there’s nothing I can do but it wasn’t willful whatsoever,” Stokes said.
4. DRS can’t be trusted blindly
Adelaide witnessed history when the first Day and Night Test match was in progress between Australia and New Zealand. The visitors looked firmly in the driving seat. New Zealand were convinced Lyon was out when his sweep-shot sent the ball looping into the slips and the spinner himself started walking back to the Adelaide Oval dressing room when the ‘Hot Spot’ technology revealed the mark on his bat. Nigel Llong saw it differently and analyzed angle after angle and replay after replay for five minutes. While the ‘Snicko’ technology gave no hint of a nick, Llong dismissed the other evidence out of hand, remarking in his exchanges with the umpires on the field that the mark on Lyon’s bat “could have come from anywhere.” At the time, the Australians were on the ropes at 8 for 118, but the match turned on its head after Llong’s contentious call, with Lyon and his batting partner Peter Nevill plundering the bowlers. Ultimately Australia snatched the victory from Australia and won the historic first Test under lights.
3. Umpires’ decisions may have lost Bangladesh in World Cup quarter finals
Outrage from the entire Bangladesh continued to flow as the fans were upset on the umpiring decisions taken. The square leg umpires Aleem Dar became the center of controversy when he signaled a no-ball for the ball being above waist-height when Rohit Sharma got caught in the deep. Ultimately, Bangladesh lost their momentum and Sharma got to his maiden World Cup ton and India won the match. Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne, who was on commentary at that time, said: “that should have been a wicket. The ball was under the waist”. International Cricket Council (ICC) president Mustafa Kamal, a Bangladeshi, also joined the protest against the Pakistan umpire saying “If needed, I will resign from the ICC. Speaking as a fan, it appears to me that it (ICC) has become Indian Cricket Council. There needs to be an investigation. A result was forced on us today,” he told a private TV channel.
2. Mohammed Aamir’s comeback and inclusion to national squad
Having served his five-year ban for getting involved in a spot-fixing, Aamir was included in the 26-man conditioning camp to be held in Lahore ahead of the World T20. This could be the key moment leading to Amir’s integration to the national side. He has been active in domestic cricket and his performance has been top-class. His latest stint with Chittagong Vikings in the Bangladesh Premier League has been very successful, finishing the tournament by bagging the leading wicket-taker for his franchise. Mohammed Hafeez and Pakistan captain Azhar Ali avoided the camp sessions for the first two days due to the scandal-hit player’s presence but after meetings with PCB Chairman resumed their training.
1. CSK and RR banned for 2 years
After getting caught in match-fixing scandals during their IPL matches, Supreme Court’s RM Lodha committee has suspended India Cements and Jaipur IPL, owners for Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals teams, for two years. The committee has also taken out Gurunath Meiyappan, a former team official of Super Kings, and Raj Kundra, a former Royals co-owner, from any involvement in cricket matches for life. To replace them, a Pune and Kochi franchise have already been formed where the former two teams’ 5 players each have been distributed to both new teams via IPL Draft system. The remaining players advance to be bought by any of the all eight teams in IPL Auction, going to be held at February 2016.