Virat Kohli's Century Drama: Umpire Kettleborough's Wide Ball Decision Under Scrutiny
In the heat of the moment during the 2023 World Cup match between India and Bangladesh, cricket aficionados witnessed an incident that sparked fervent debate and controversy. The pivotal moment unfolded when India needed just two more runs for victory, and their star batsman, Virat Kohli, was tantalizingly close to his century, requiring a mere three runs. Bangladesh's left-arm spinner, Nasum Ahmed, delivered a ball that drifted wide outside the leg stump. Kohli, anticipating the delivery to be declared a wide, was taken aback when the on-field umpire, Richard Kettleborough, refrained from making that call. This decision by Kettleborough not only altered the course of the match but also raised significant questions regarding the interpretation of wide deliveries in cricket.
Wide Ball Rules - A Closer Look
Virat Kohli deserved a Richard Kettleborough after facing a Nitin Menon. pic.twitter.com/pRra23W5H6— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) October 20, 2023
To fully comprehend the controversy surrounding the incident, it is essential to delve into the regulations that govern what constitutes a wide delivery in the game of cricket. The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plays a pivotal role as the custodian of cricket rules, including those governing wide balls. According to MCC's Law 22.1.1, "A ball is considered delivered wide if, in the Umpire's judgment, it is wide to the extent that the batsman does not have a reasonable opportunity to play it with a regular cricket shot."
Modernizing Wide Ball Rules
The International Cricket Council (ICC), recognizing the ever-evolving nature of the sport, introduced revisions to the wide ball rules. These changes, implemented the year prior to the 2023 World Cup, acknowledge the dynamic nature of modern cricket, especially in fast-paced formats. Batsmen often shift positions before the ball is bowled, which made it necessary to adapt the rules accordingly. Under the revised rule, the field umpire is required to assess the batsman's positioning during the delivery before declaring a wide. The distance of the ball from the wicket alone is no longer the sole determinant for labeling a delivery as wide.
Interpreting the Decision
The fun moment of the day.Richard Kettleborough had a cheeky smile when Nasum bowled in leg side while Kohli was on 97*. pic.twitter.com/y46kC5hNsU— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) October 19, 2023
The controversy stems from the interpretation of whether Umpire Kettleborough's decision was in line with the ICC's updated wide ball rules. Former international umpire Vinayak Kulkarni provided a critical insight, stating, "In one-day cricket, under normal circumstances, a delivery is classified as wide when it strays outside the leg stump and heads toward the off-side. However, there is a condition to consider. If the batsman remains stationary in his position, and the ball still passes outside the leg stump without him making an attempt to move, then the delivery is not deemed wide. In simpler terms, if the batsman endeavors to shift his position and attempt a shot, a delivery going past him outside the leg stump is not designated as wide."
In the case of the delivery bowled by Nasum Ahmed, it can be argued that Kohli, anticipating the wide ball, attempted to move across the crease to play a shot. Kettleborough's judgment may have been influenced by Kohli's attempt to adjust his position, leading him to conclude that the delivery was not wide by the newly amended ICC standard.
- PTC PUNJABI