While there were moments of on-field brilliance that have entered cricketing folklore – like Carlos Brathwaite’s Herculean effort against New Zealand or Ben Stokes heroics in the finals – there were multiple controversies that will be remembered.
During India’s opening match against South Africa, MS Dhoni was spotted with the insignia of the Indian Special Forces — called the Balidaan Badge — on his gloves while wicket-keeping.
Balidaan is a distinct insignia of the Special Forces, which is worn by para commandos on the pockets of their uniform. It shows a commando dagger pointed down, with wings extending upwards from the blade on which ‘Balidaan’ is inscribed in Devanagari.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) asked Dhoni to remove the insignia as it exceeded the number of logos permitted on gloves. There was outrage in India over the ICC’s diktat, but Dhoni chose not to speak about it, and wore different gloves from the next match onwards.
Jadeja lashes out at Manjrekar
Ravindra Jadeja lashed out at commentator Sanjay Manjrekar on Twitter, apparently after the former India cricketer said that he would not like a “bits and pieces player like Jadeja” to be in the Indian World Cup squad.
“Still I have played twice the number of matches you have played and I’m still playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved.i have heard enough of your verbal diarrhoea,” Jadeja tweeted. He also tagged Manjrekar in the tweet.
It led to ‘Bits and pieces’ replacing ‘three-dimensional cricketer’ as the favourite phrase of Indian cricket fans. Manjrekar even blocked former England cricketer-turned-commentator Michael Vaughan for mocking the phrase. The final word in the matter came from Jadeja, who proved his mettle in the semi-final against New Zealand.
Shahzad’s outburst against Afghanistan team management
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad claimed that he had been sent home from the World Cup without proper explanation. The authorities said he was unfit, a theory that he ruled out. “If they don’t want me to play, I will quit cricket,“ Shahzad told local media in Kabul.
Newspaper Afghanistan Times quoted Shahzad as saying that there were accusations against him that he doesn’t play honestly against Pakistan and that he is in the team working for someone.
The comeback that was not to be – AB de Villiers
After South Africa’s nightmarish campaign in the World Cup began, reports emerged that 35-year-old AB de Villiers had offered to come out of retirement from international cricket for the World Cup. The reports added that the offer was rebuffed by the South Africa team management on the eve of announcing their final squad.
De Villiers was criticized for his “selfishness”, but the former South African clarified that he had not made any demands to be included in the squad.
“Elements of our private conversation were disclosed to the media, and distorted to cast me in the worst possible light,” he said.
Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed was harassed and heckled by a fan while visiting a mall with his family. The fan even uploaded a video which went viral on social media. The incident took place after Pakistan’s loss to India.
“Why are you as fat as a pig? You have made Pakistan proud,” the man tells the Pakistan captain in the video. Sarfaraz, who was with his son at the time, did not react and walked away.
The incident drew criticism from other fans and cricketers. Sarfaraz later said that he found his wife crying after reports of the incident, but was glad that he had received support.
Afghanistan, Pakistan fans brawl
There were clashes between fans during the match and also after the winning runs were hit. Bins and bottles were thrown by both sets of fans at each other after the match.
At least two fans were ejected from the ground after the clashes broke out. Security personnel had to intervene to break up the fights in which journalists also ended up getting hurt.
The fight was apparently triggered by the sight of a plane with a banner tailing in the air about ‘Justice for Balochistan’.
Before the World Cup clash between India and Pakistan, a Pakistani channel’s advertisement for its coverage of the match sparked controversy. The advertisement mocked the capture of Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman by Pakistan earlier this year.
The advertisement featured a man sporting a moustache similar to Varthaman’s in an Indian cricket team jersey. The man is shown having a cup of tea, much like the video released by the Pakistan Army after Varthaman’s capture.
In the advertisement, the man refuses to answer questions about India’s strategy in the upcoming match with responses similar to Varthaman’s.
There were five instances in the first ten days of the World Cup in which the ball hit the stumps, but the bails stayed on.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar expressed disbelief after David Warner received such a reprieve. “What’s going on?? In my entire life, I have not seen 5 instances like this, let alone in the space of 10 days or a tournament,” he tweeted.
Jimmy Neesham said, “I understand that the electronics in the stumps and the bails make them heavier. Why can’t the groove the bails sit in just be made shallower? Won’t that fix the problem?”
World Cup matches washed away
This World Cup has seen many records being created – one of them is for the most number of matches in a World Cup washed out by rain. Fans questioned why England was hosting the World Cup when it was known that rains are part of British summers.
Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes was among the most prominent voices against teams losing games due to rain. Rhodes questioned that if men can land on moon why couldn’t the ICC factor in the weather when drawing up the World Cup schedule.