The recently-concluded Ashes 2023 series between England and Australia has been embroiled in numerous controversies, and the final match was no exception. During Day 4 of the closely-fought encounter, Australia raised concerns about the ball change, which they believe played a pivotal role in England’s favour.
The 36-over-old ball was replaced with a new one, but Australia argued that the new ball appeared shinier and harder than it should have been. This change in the ball’s condition proved to be a turning point, leading to Australia losing wickets in quick succession and eventually suffering a 49-run defeat.
Australian cricket legends Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath expressed their dissatisfaction with the incident, making their feelings abundantly clear.
In response to the ongoing debate, the International Council has clarified its protocol for such situations. A spokesperson for the global cricket governing body asserted,
“The ICC does not comment on the decisions taken by umpires in matches. We can, however, confirm that all balls are pre-selected before the start of every match and when the situation calls for it, the match officials choose the ball that is closest to the condition of the ball that is being replaced,” as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
Ricky Ponting voiced his frustration with the events of the final Ashes Test, highlighting the significant discrepancy between the two balls. He expressed,
“The most concerning aspect is the substantial difference in the condition of the replacement ball. There’s no way you can look at those two balls and consider them comparable. When you decide to change the ball, you expect it to be as close as possible to the one being replaced. Unfortunately, that box did not have many older-condition balls, and those that were picked up were scrutinized by the umpires and subsequently rejected.”
The situation has sparked massive criticism from cricket enthusiasts and experts alike. While the ICC has provided its explanation, the controversy continues to be a topic of heated discussions within the cricketing community. As the Ashes series settles, fans hope that such incidents are addressed with more transparency in the future, ensuring the integrity of the game is upheld.