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Fact Check: Did Umpire Intentionally Give No Wide To Let Virat Kohli Complete Hundred Vs Bangladesh In World Cup?

Fact Check: Did Umpire Intentionally Give No Wide To Let Virat Kohli Complete Hundred Vs Bangladesh In World Cup?
Virat Kohli achieved a century against Bangladesh by hitting a six on the last ball. However, just two balls before that decisive shot, there was a disputed wide that the umpire, Kettleborough, did not call, leading to a significant controversy.  

A controversy has arisen following the conclusion of match 18 of the Cricket World Cup 2023. In this match, India's prominent batsman, Virat Kohli, achieved a century by hitting a six on the final ball of the game against Bangladesh

India need to score 2 runs in the remaining 9 overs. Kohli was at the batting end during the 42nd over, which was bowled by Nasum Ahmed. The first ball veered towards the leg side, but the umpire did not deem it wide. 

In the Indian dressing room, there was a moment of shared laughter when Kohli was on 97. It was because a non-wide call allowed him to score a hundred just two balls later. The umpire who did not call it a wide was Richard Kettleborough.

He found himself in a difficult situation when he smirked and pretended that it was not a wide delivery.

Fans on social media believed that he did this on purpose to see Kohli score his 48th ODI century. However, was it truly the case?

We have not received an official clarification from the umpire. However, there might be a valid reason behind Kettleborough's decision not to call a wide in that particular instance. The possible reason could be related to a change in laws that occurred last year. 

The law that governs how a wide should be assessed in the MCC Laws of Cricket is 22.1.1. According to this law, if a bowler bowls a ball that is not a No ball, the umpire will consider it a Wide if the ball passes wide of where the striker is standing.

Additionally, the ball would have also passed wide of the striker if they were standing in a normal guard position, as defined in 22.1.2.

According to Clause 22.1.2, if the ball is not within the striker's reach for them to hit it with a normal cricket stroke using the bat, it will be considered as passing wide.

In March of last year, MCC announced a new code of laws that also had an impact on Clause 22.1. The change took effect on October 1.

MCC's statement highlighted that in the modern game, batters are increasingly shifting laterally around the crease prior to the ball being bowled.

There was a sense of unfairness surrounding the rule that a delivery could be deemed 'Wide' if it passed where the batter had been standing as the bowler began their delivery stride.

Hence, an amendment has been made to Law 22.1. This amendment states that a Wide will now be applicable in three scenarios: when the batter is standing, when the striker has stood at any point since the bowler began their run up, and when the ball would have passed wide of the striker in a regular batting position.

Let's now discuss the specific incident involving Nasum and Kohli, which is not widely known. Kohli strategically positioned his right foot outside the leg stump to increase his chances of hitting a boundary.

Nasum attempted to bowl towards Kohli in order to prevent him from scoring a boundary or a six. The ball was directed down the leg side, causing Kohli to shuffle back into his normal guard position. 

It is likely that umpire Kettleborough did not call it as a wide due to a change in the law. The smirk on his face may be due to the crowd cheering the decision when Kohli was on 99, and the umpire realising that his non-wide call had made them even happier. The smirk may be more dependent on the situation rather than anything else.