World Cup 2019: 10 controversies which stayed in the headlines in league stage

Here is a list of top ten controversial moments from the league stages of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Just like wins, losses, euphoria, heartbreak and injuries, controversies are a part and parcel of the game. Though they are unwanted, but not unavoidable. At a big stage like ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, any minute abnormality sparks a huge controversy. Whether it is a player who did not act according to the laws of the game or any off-field incident that incites rage, controversies are very common nowadays.

The 2019 edition of the World Cup was no different to it, both on and off the field. While some controversies had to deal with the gestures of specific players, others included the stands of specific cricket boards.


Let us have a look at 10 controversies that rocked the league stage:

10. Non-bailable bails

Stump bails
Stump bails. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Let us get this one off the list first. With the bails becoming digital to ensure precision in decision-making while checking run-outs, its weight has increased considerably. Since the past few months, bails not falling off despite the ball hitting the stumps has become a common occurrence.

After the IPL, the bail controversy has rocked the World Cup. The bails have not fallen many times after getting hit by the ball, with David Warner, Chris Gayle and Quinton de Kock being the beneficiaries. Many pundits are arguing to declare the batsman out once the light from the bail is on.

9. Mohammad Shahzad’s mysterious injury

Mohammad Shahzad
(Photo Source: Twitter)

If you thought the appointment of Gulbadin Naib as the skipper is the biggest surprise that can come from Afghanistan in this World Cup, you were wrong. One of their most trusted campaigners, Mohammad Shahzad was ruled out of the tournament because of an injury after the first two games.

The saga started afterwards, with the wicket-keeper batsman claiming that he is fit and has been kicked out of the team for no good reason. “If I was unfit then how could I play the first two matches? The physio told me that I will be alright if I take a bit of rest, and suddenly I was ruled out of the tournament. I have done so much for Afghanistan cricket and this is what happened to me,” a heartbroken Shahzad commented.

8. Rohit Sharma’s dismissal against the Windies

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Rohit Sharma has broken many records in this World Cup. He has become the only player to score 5 hundreds in a single edition of the tournament and is currently tied with Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 6 World Cup hundreds. However, he could have broken that record too, had it not been for an unlucky dismissal against the Windies.

West Indian cricketers appealed for a caught behind off Kemar Roach’s bowling, but on-field umpire Richard Illingworth was unmoved. Jason Holder opted for DRS and Illingworth’s decision was changed. However, the replays were inconclusive, with a zoomed-in angle showing that the ball might have hit the pad and not the bat. But the third-umpire over-turned the on-field umpire’s decision this time, which raised many questions about the technology.

Michael Gough also had to face the flak on social media for the same and to make things worse, one of the Indian fans, edited his Wikipedia page as well.

7. Pakistan team spotted in a hookah parlour

Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik
Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik. (Photo Source: Twitter)

While many on-field decisions sparked controversy, the behaviour of cricketers off the field was under the scrutiny too. After a thumping defeat against India, Pakistani players had something worse in store for them. Pictures of some senior Pakistani cricketers enjoying their time in a shisha parlour at Manchester before the marquee clash surfaced in social media.

Shoaib Malik was spotted alongside his wife Sania Mirza, while Imad Wasim and Wahab Riaz was also pictured. The Pakistani fans were enraged for obvious reasons and asked for an investigation. Though it was found that the pictures were not from the day before the crucial match, players involved in a highly competitive tournament spending time in a hookah bar at 2 AM still raised many eyebrows.

6. The India-Pakistan Ad fiasco

Abhinandan spoof
Abhinandan spoof. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Ever since the ‘Mauka Mauka’ ad, the India-Pakistan clash has got a new twist to it. Even before a ball is bowled, a match is played by the advertisement agencies of both countries, and neither shies away from taking a dig at the other. This time, India came up with an ad which showed India as the ‘father’ of Pakistan. For obvious reasons, the Pakistanis were upset.

It was then Pakistan’s to come up with something similar. They mocked Indian IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was held captive in Pakistan after his MIG 21 crashed in that part of the world. This was the turn of Indians to get offended, as things got heated up even before the match started.

5. Chris Gayle’s dismissal against Australia

Mitchell Starc's delivery
Mitchell Starc’s delivery. (Photo Source: Hotstar)

Though the West Indies had a very tough time in England, they started their campaign on a great note. After beating Pakistan in their first game, they almost won against Australia, but poor umpiring proved costly. Chris Gayle was given out twice by the on-field umpire, and he survived on both occasions because of DRS.

However, the Universe Boss was unlucky in his third attempt, as replays showed that Mitchell Starc’s delivery would have gone on to hit the stumps. While the umpires check no-ball before moving to ball tracker, they don’t do the same for the previous delivery. Replays showed that the previous delivery was a no-ball by a very big margin, but the on-field umpire completely missed it. Hence, Gayle was dismissed in what should have been a free hit delivery.

4. Kane Williamson did not walk off after edging the ball

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Kane Williamson has the image of a very obedient and well-behaved man. But the world witnessed a different, more competitive version of the Kiwi skipper when New Zealand took on South Africa at Edgbaston. Chasing a target of 242, they were once reeling at 137/5. Things could have been worse if Williamson was dismissed, which he should have been when he edged Imran Tahir’s delivery.

Imran Tahir bowled a beauty of a delivery to Williamson which the batsman completely missed and was in two minds whether to play it or not. In the process, he had edged the ball to the keeper and Tahir looked excited about the same for a while. But surprisingly, the Proteas keeper Quinton de Kock was unmoved and with the skipper Faf du Plessis at the boundary, he also didn’t go for the review.

It was the key moment in the game and eventually proved costly for South Africa as the replays showed that the batsman had edged the ball. Many questioned Williamson’s integrity as to why he didn’t walk but with nobody appealing from the opposition, the batsman was within his rights to stay put.

3. India’s orange jersey

India's away jersey
India’s away jersey. (Photo Source: Twitter)

According to the rules, the Men in Blue needed to sport an alternate kit against England, who also wear blue. The jersey designers opted for an orange jersey, which led to numerous speculations and controversies. Initially, there were various unofficial designs which were making rounds on social media. Even the players were not aware of what jersey they will sport against England.

Once it was confirmed that India will be wearing a jersey that is orange-heavy, politics kicked in. The political leaders accused BJP of playing the role in it by making various controversial statements. However, Kohli made it clear that the jersey was quite exciting and didn’t find any problem with it. Amidst all the chaos, India lost the match against the hosts.

2. MS Dhoni’s gloves

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Perhaps the biggest controversy of this edition’s World Cup was regarding Indian wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gloves. In India’s opening encounter against South Africa, Dhoni was seen wearing a pair of gloves with army insignia on them.

Though Indian fans loved Dhoni’s gesture, it didn’t go well with ICC. The governing body of cricket asked him to wear gloves without that logo, as a player can’t sport any commercial, religious or military logo on his kit. BCCI was baffled by this and asked ICC to reconsider their decision. But the men at ICC remained firm and Dhoni finally had to wear different gloves.

1. Planes flying over Headingley with controversial messages

A plane carries a message 'justice for Kashmir' during the match between India and Sri Lanka
A plane carries a message ‘justice for Kashmir’ during the match between India and Sri Lanka. (Photo Source: Twitter)

More than MS Dhoni’s gloves, the planes flying over Headingley in Leeds hogged the headlines. An unauthorised plane flew over the stadium with the message ‘Justice for Balochistan‘ during the Afghanistan-Pakistan game. This led to the fans from both the sides getting involved in a fight outside the ground.

While the match ended in a thriller, it was marred by the fans fighting inside the ground as well. The ICC released s statement later stating that they will make sure it doesn’t happen again. But during the India-Sri Lanka game, the planes flew twice over the stadium with the messages related to Kashmir and the BCCI was irked with the same as the wrote a strict letter to the governing body.