That the unique situation of unending controversy over the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is a one off would be wrong from the perspective that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had plenty of time between the commencement of the premier limited overs tournament and its eventual conclusion to right a few obvious wrongs.
Alarms bells went off not just when some bad umpiring decisions seem to undo the West Indies in their round robin match against Australia but rather when it was revealed by the no-holds-barred Michael Holding that the sport’s governing body was attempting through the broadcasters to clamp down on criticism about the umpiring decisions in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England.
In fact, the erroneous umpiring decisions became such a dominant theme that the former West Indies cricketer-turned-commentator was not the only headache as far as the ICC were concerned. The increasingly numerous mistakes creeping in were beginning to border on the bizarre to the point where one had to wonder how much the technology in use could correct the errors on the field when the mistakes were repeatedly being ignored instead of being taken cognizance of.
Even in the semi-final there was anguish in the manner in with England’s Jason Roy was given out. With the world increasingly tuned in more acutely with the action now aired across television screens with additional aids, it seemed the sport had to get with the times and embrace the changes, making corrections as the game moved forward or else, cop controversy as it is currently doing in the aftermath of the runs awards after the ball deflection off Ben Stokes’ bat that went unchecked.
Right through the tournament, the ICC established a moribund outlook, refusing to address the white elephant in the room, almost as if it was powerless to the point where it had to resort to damage control by gaging the voices in the commentary box. Had the ICC adopted a more proactive approach, it could have made attempts to gather together the saner voices and come up with a way to stop the bleeding. Instead in their adamant silence and looking the other way approach, they perpetuated what turned into an embarrassing situation witnessed by more viewers who had either turned up or tuned in to the mega final.
In many ways, this was a disaster waiting to happen right under the nose of the custodians of the game, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and the governing body itself, the ICC, and eventually it was at the original Mecca of cricket, Lord’s, that the unprecedented happened where not only did the two teams run each other ragged run for run but also, the keepers of the game tripped up on each other to add ignominy to what was one of the most epic battles ever waged for the World Cup Trophy.
Headlines should have been speaking volumes of the winners and giving kudos to the losing team. Instead the headlines two days into the declaration of the winner read about the inept manner in which the whole scenario was handled in such a befuddled manner that left one team – New Zealand – in perpetual anguish and through no fault of their own.