Bengaluru, July 16: The controversy over the bizarre rules and umpiring decision that allowed England to eventually to win ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 continues to rage.
First, there was a deflection of the throw from the fielder that had deflected off a diving Ben Stokes' bat to go for four boundary runs and the home team was awarded six runs, making the equation a lot easier for them.
And then, after the Super Over too ended in a tie, England were awarded the game by the virtue of hitting more boundaries.
There is something eerie about the ICC rules for big events. They make simple things complicated in an effort to import a football-like excitement in games that go down to the wire.
The irony is that while some of the ICC's rules are too complicated (especially their wordings that look like real legal deals!), there are others that appear flimsy and shallow, particularly when seen in the context of a tournament of the magnitude of the World Cup.
First, about the deflection rule. It was a simple incident of the ball hitting the running batsman and getting deflected to reach the boundary. An unintentional act in which none was responsible. Had there been a simple rule with simple wordings for things to be done on such occasions (it is very very rare though), the on-field umpire would have found it easier to give his verdict.
The relevant law on this says: "If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act."
Now, for a non-serious student of law which many sports-lovers are more likely to be, this is something incredible to decipher. On the ground, decisions are taken in a split of seconds and 'courtroom interpretation' of these hefty laws can only be done once the match result is decided either in favour of this or that team.
Australia's reputed former umpire Simon Taufel played it diplomatically when he said that England should have been awarded five runs and not six because of the technicalities while also defending the umpires saying that one event hadn't decided the final.
It certainly did and Kumar Dharmasena might look a villain in these circumstances but even Taufel would have struggled to give the perfect verdict in those electric situations. It is never easy to recall the complicated rules and interpret them to give a verdict in a flash of a second.
The second rule of a team winning the World Cup is equally outrageous. Those rules can be okay for the shallow T20 format, but in a 50-over game in which both teams spent the whole day fighting a 'war of attrition', arriving at the final conclusion through such a light criterion is ridiculous to say the least. New Zealand should have been the clear winners because of losing less wickets to make 241 but to make the climax more entertaining and exciting, the organisers only killed justice and denied the Black Caps what was their cup.
As said earlier, the ICC always comes up with new rules that turn teams in guinea pigs at big events. In the 1999 World Cup semifinal, Australia went through to the final after their game with South Africa ended in a thrilling tie. Australia went through just because they were above the Proteas in the Super Six stage. That was again a hilarious rule as win-loss shouldn't be decided by what had happened in the past.
In the 2007 World Twenty20, the India-Pakistan group game saw a bowl-out (much like penalty shoot-outs in football) to decide the winner and India went through. That still looked a better way to break a tie even though it too was highly determined by luck.