21 Major Controversies That Have Struck During Cricket World Cups

Cricket hailed as the gentleman’s game but there have been some moments of madness and chaos on and around a cricket field as well. Here are 21 major controversies that have interrupted World Cup tournaments.

21 Major Controversies That Have Struck During Cricket World Cups

1. A Fan Tweeted as India Vs Pakistan Match was Fixed

One guy has tweeted India Vs Pakistan match results even before the conclusion of India’s innings, at around 11:35AM. This tweet made viral on Facebook and Twitter, along with shouts that match was fixed.

fan tweeted India Pakistan match already fixed

2. The No-ball that saved Rohit Sharma and India, 2015

India was struggling in the World Cup quarter-final against Bangladesh. Reeling at 115/3 after 28 overs, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina were restoring some stability to the batting, when Sharma was caught at deep mid-wicket. But umpire Aleem Dar ruled it as a no-ball but replays showed that it was a legitimate waist-high delivery. Rohit went on to score 137 runs and India went on to win by 109 runs.

no ball saved india

rohith sharma no ball

ICC’s Bangladeshi president Mustafa Kamal has alleged that the match was fixed and that the umpire’s decision seemed pre-decided. He has threatened to quit and intends to discuss this in the next ICC meeting.

3. Umar Akmal Gets a Feather, 2015

Umar Akmal gets out at India Vs Pakistan 5 controversial decisions in the 2015 World Cup so far

Umar Akmal was initially ruled not out by the  umpire Richard Kettleborough after Indian captain MS Dhoni caught the ball which was delivered by Ravindra Jadeja ball beat his outside edge. Later the Umpire Richard Kettleborough had to reverse his earlier decision and rule Akmal out after Indian skipper and wicketkeeper. M S Dhoni didn’t agree with the decision and went for the Decision Review System(DRS).

4. John Mooney’s Catch at Boundary, 2015

John Mooney's catch at boundar - 5 controversial decisions in the 2015 World Cup so far

Ireland posted 331 for 8 in 50 overs in their Pool B encounter against Zimbabwe at Hobart after the contribution of a fine century from Ed Joyce and a 97 from Andrew Balbirnie. Zimbabweans put up a spirited fight where Brendan Taylor contributed a 91-ball 121 and Sean Williams who kept his side in the game till the very end with some lusty hits following Taylor’s dismissal.

5. Was Chris Jordan Out?

England Chris aJordan Run out 5 controversial decisions in the 2015 ICC World Cup so far

The third empire replay indicated that Chris Jordans’s bat was in the air despite him having grounded it when the bails were dislodged from the stumps. Chris Jordans was given out after a tough decision as it could get for the third umpire.

6. The re-toss that may have decided the World Cup, 2011

In the final, during the toss, Sri Lanka captain Kumara Sangakkara called ‘heads’ but due to the crowd noise, his call was not heard. Dhoni thought he had called for ‘tails’ and thinking that India won the toss, Dhoni elected to bat. But Sanga pointed out that he had called for ‘heads’ and they eventually settled for another toss. The Lankan called it right again and decided to bat. If he had agreed to field earlier, might be the outcome differed.

retoss in 2011 world cup finals

7. When the DRS needed a review, 2011

In the group match against England, India asked for a review after Ian Bell was given not out. Replays showed that the ball had pitched in line and after watching it on the big screen, Bell walked off. But he was called back by umpire Billy Bowden as the impact was more than 2.5 meters away from the stumps, which meant the DRS may have faltered and the on-field umpire had to take the final call. Bell made 52 more runs. The match ended in a dramatic tie.

drs needed a review

8. When Andrew Flintoff fell into a pool of trouble, 2007

Andrew Flintoff was stripped off his England vice-captaincy and fined for consuming alcohol and then going for paddle boating. The incident happened the night before the team was to play against Canada.He had even fallen off his pedalo, into the water and had to be rescued.


9. The other ‘Dark Day’ of the World Cup, 2007

The final between Sri Lanka and Australia at Bridgetown had already been reduced to a 38-over contest due to rain. Australia had set a daunting target of 282. There was more delay and the target was reduced to 269 from 36 overs. The lack of floodlights led to the last 3 overs being bowled in almost complete darkness even though there was a reserve day. Sri Lanka could score only 215/8 and the Aussies won the cup by 53 runs.

dark day for 2007 world cup

world cup 2007 final winnners

10. When Bob Woolmer Mysteriously passed away, 2007

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room in Kingston, Jamaica, after their exit from the World Cup. Reports initially stated that he died of a heart attack but after a proper investigation, it was argued that he may have died of asphyxia due to strangulation. Ex-South Africa captain Clive Rice said that betting syndicates were involved but an official statement was released later stating the cause of death as natural.

bob-woolmer-passed way mysteriously

11. When the Kiwis were too scared to fly to Kenya, 2003

In a similar case, New Zealand also refused to go to Nairobi as Kenya was facing civil unrest. The hosts were awarded the match and after beating a food-poisoning-stricken Sri Lankan team, they managed to reach the semifinals.

New Zealand frightened to fly to kenya

12. When Shane Warne was banned from the World Cup, 2003

A day before Australia’s opening game, the leg spinner tested positive for a banned substance called diuretic. In his plea, Warney said that he had taken a pill adviced by his mother to help him lose weight. He was however sent home and not allowed to participate in the tournament. He was banned for one year.

sharne warne banned from 2003 world cup

13. When Andy Flower and Henry Olonga made a statement, 2003

The World Cup was held in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Zimbabwe, as a country was crumbling under President Robert Mugabe, which led to Andy Flower and Henry Olonga calling it “the death of democracy”. The two players wore black armbands to protest against the government. After the World Cup, the duo left the country and retired from international cricket.

Andy Flower and Henry Olonga statement

14. When England decided to not travel to Zimbabwe, 2003

Due to the political climate and security fears, England decided not to travel to Harare for their match against Zimbabwe. The hosts got a walkover and with rain washing out their game against Pakistan, they qualified for the next round.

England zimbabwe 2003 world cup

15. When Coach Woolmer Whispered into Captain’s ear, 1999

South Africa were playing against India in their opening match in England. Coach Bob Woolmer, who was known to be unconventional, handed his captain Hansie Cronje a one-way hearing piece which he wore during the match. Ganguly spotted it and the match referee asked Cronje to remove it. It was officially disallowed after the match.

coach whoolmer whispering into captains ear

16. Aussies and Windies Refused to travel Sri Lanka, 1996

LTTE had nothing to do with the World Cup, their influence led to the two teams Australia and Sri Lanka forfeiting their matches against Lanka. Because of LTTE Citing security reasons, Australia and West Indies refused to travel to Sri Lanka in 1996 World Cup.

ltte war in sri lanka

17. When The Eden was anything but a garden, 1996

India were chasing 251 against Sri Lanka in the semifinal at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The hosts were cruising at 98/1 when Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket fell. India crumpled like a pack of cards and fell to 120/8. That’s when the crowd got disgruntled and started throwing bottles and lighting fires. Play was stopped for 15 minutes. The match was eventually handed to Sri Lanka.



18. When rain washed South Africa out of the World Cup, 1992

South Africa were playing against England in the semifinal. 22 was needed off 13 balls with 4 wickets left when rain halted play for 12 minutes. When play resumed, the score was revised to 21/1. Its not funny because rain deciding the fate of World Cup Winner.

south africa to score 22 runs in 1 ball

19. Javed Miandad Jumping like a Monkey, 1992

Javed Miandad Pakistan player fed up with the constant appealing by Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More. He decided to imitate him. Miandad jumped up and down like a monkey in the ground.

javed jumping like a monkey

20. When World Cup Host Shifted to India & Pakistan from England – 1987

We all well known that cricket started in England and the first three World Cups were held in that country. The ICC wanted to freshen things up and decided to host it elsewhere. Finally, India & Pakistan were picked as the joint venue. This is not a big controversy but they sort of felt cheated.

india pakistan world cup 1987

21. When Sunil Gavaskar Decided to play it like a Test match, 1975

No one really knows what was happening with India’s opener as India chased 335 against England. He remained unbeaten over the course of 60 overs and had scored just 36 runs facing 174 balls. India finished with just 132/3. This became the biggest controversy at that time.

sunil Gavaskar playing like a test match

These are few Controversies that have struck during cricket World Cups. If you found any other controversies in cricket, do comment below and we will update this soon.

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