NEW DEHLI: From an absurd ‘21 runs to win off one ball’ equation in 1992 to a final played in virtual darkness in 2007, the World Cup has had more than its fair share of controversies.
Rows threatened to overshadow the game in 2007, starting with the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer and ending with a farcical semi-darkness finish. Woolmer’s death came after Pakistan suffered a shock defeat against Ireland, the loss eventually leading to the ouster of the 1992 champions.
The 2003 edition began with a drug-ban involving Shane Warne. Australia got the news before their opening match that Warne had been ruled out, but it was a tribute to their mental toughness that they did not allow it to affect their performance.
Cricket was again pushed into the background as Zimbabweans Henry Olonga and Andy Flower wore black armbands to protest the “death of democracy” in their country. Both were driven into cricketing exile. England boycotted their match at Harare on political grounds, while New Zealand refused to play in Nairobi due to security concerns.
In 1996, Australia and the West Indies boycotted their opening games in Sri Lanka due to security fears. It also had an abandoned match due to riots. India were facing defeat in the semi-final against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens when the riots broke out, forcing match-referee Clive Lloyd to award to game to Sri Lanka.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2011.