ICC World Cup 2023: Did umpire Richard Kettleborough's controversial decision affect Kohli’s century?

The internet erupted in memes after the umpire's decision


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Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

Published: Fri 20 Oct 2023, 10:16 AM

Last updated: Fri 20 Oct 2023, 12:09 PM

Virat Kohli came up with his 48th ODI century to guide India to a convincing seven-wicket win against Bangladesh at the World Cup 2023 on Thursday.

In the final phase of the fixture, the suspense was palpable over whether Kohli would reach his hundred before India scored the winning runs. With the entire stadium cheering for a Kohli century, a decision by umpire Richard Kettleborough came under the scanner, sparking hilarious memes that even went on to suggest that he also wanted Kohli to score a century.

Here are some reactions:

With Kohli batting on 97 and India requiring two runs to win, Bangladesh spinner Nasum Ahmed’s first ball of the 42nd over went down the leg side. Kohli seemed a bit frustrated as a wide delivery would have diminished his chances of breaching the three-digit mark. Umpire Kettleborough, however, adjudged it as a fair delivery.

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Well, Kohli could still have scored the century had a wide been given. It would have added one run to India's tally with just one more to win and Kohli remaining on strike. In fact, Kohli dispatched the third delivery of the over for a maximum.

Changes in laws of cricket

A deep dive into the recent changes to laws of cricket, relating to the judging of wide balls, will certainly explain why the on-field umpire adjudged Nasum’s delivery a legal one.

Previously, the clause 22.1.1 in the MCC Laws of Cricket, which deals with judging a wide, read, “If the bowler bowls a ball, not being a no ball, the umpire shall adjudge it a wide if, according to the definition in 22.1.2, the ball passes wide of where the striker is standing and which also would have passed wide of the striker standing in a normal guard position.”

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) tweaked the law and came up with new regulations last year. “In the modern game, batters are, more than ever, moving laterally around the crease before the ball is bowled,” read a statement shared by the MCC.

“It was felt unfair that a delivery might be called ‘Wide’ if it passes where the batter had stood as the bowler entered his/her delivery stride. Therefore, Law 22.1 has been amended so that a Wide will apply to where the batter is standing, where the striker has stood at any point since the bowler began their run up, and which would also have passed wide of the striker in a normal batting position,” the statement added.

Observing Richard Kettleborough’s decision and the gesture of his hands, it can be concluded that the latest change in the rulebook played a part in his decision.

India will next face New Zealand on Sunday, October 22.


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