ICC issues clarification on ball-change controversy; Ricky Ponting's plea falls to deaf ears
The cricket community worldwide branded this occurrence a "disgrace," leaving Ponting seething and demanding that the ICC thoroughly investigate how such a discrepancy between the two balls was allowed.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has finally addressed the replacement ball controversy that cast a shadow over the final day of the fifth Ashes Test. One of the prominent figures expressing frustration was Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, who demanded an investigation after the umpires allowed England to replace their worn-out ball with one in significantly better condition.
This incident occurred merely 37 overs into Australia's second innings, when the tourists were comfortably cruising at 0-135 in their pursuit of a record chase of 384 runs at The Oval. Despite Usman Khawaja's objections, the home team was permitted to continue with the replacement ball, leading to the swift loss of three wickets and a drastic shift in the match's dynamics.
The cricket community worldwide branded this occurrence a "disgrace," leaving Ponting seething and demanding that the ICC thoroughly investigate how such a discrepancy between the two balls was allowed to unfold.
However, it seems that Ponting's call for action has fallen on deaf ears, as the ICC responded briefly to the controversy. Unfortunately, their explanation did little to appease the Australian cricket community, and it raised further scrutiny on the decisions made by the match officials.
ICC breaks silence on the raging controversy
The ICC clarified the process for changing a ball but refrained from addressing the specific incident.
Addressing the air of ambiguity, an ICC spokesperson said, “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.”
Usman Khawaja also weighed in, suggesting that the ICC should learn from this controversy. He argued that if no balls similar to the one being replaced were available in the umpires' box, the bowling side should be required to continue using the initial ball instead.