Cricket, a sport renowned for its controversies, has seen its fair share over the years. The Asia Cup, a major cricket tournament with a 40-year history, has witnessed numerous memorable moments on the field. In the past decade, Asian cricket rivalries have expanded beyond traditional powerhouses like India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Emerging nations such as Bangladesh and Afghanistan have injected excitement into the cricketing landscape. This has compelled established teams to elevate their performances to maintain their dominance on the continent.
As a result, the overall quality of players in Asia has seen significant improvements in recent years, mirroring the rising standards of umpiring. However, even amidst this progress, players and umpires occasionally face challenging moments in their careers, particularly during high-stakes events like the Asia Cup. The tournament continues to be a crucible of intense cricketing competition and drama.
Let us look at some of the most controversial umpire decisions in the Asia Cup:
1. Rohit Sharma on Asif Ali not out on DRS following a spike on ultra-edge
In the crucial Super Four stage match of the Asia Cup 2022 between India and Pakistan, Asif Ali attempted a pull shot on a delivery from Ravi Bishnoi in the 18th over but missed. Rohit Sharma immediately went for a DRS review, which revealed a spike on Ultra Edge when the ball was near the bat or glove.
Surprisingly, the third umpire upheld the on-field decision, prompting an animated confrontation from the Indian captain. India eventually lost the thrilling match by five wickets on the second-to-last ball.
2. Umpires opting for DRS despite Babar Azam not opting for it
In the Asia Cup 2022 Super Four stage final match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Pakistan set a below-par total. In the 16th over, Sri Lankan captain Dasun Shanaka missed a ramp shot off Hasan Ali’s delivery.
There was a miscommunication as the on-field umpire initiated a DRS review, thinking Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam had requested it. However, Babar hadn’t, resulting in the wasteful use of Pakistan’s review. The decision was upheld, contributing to Pakistan’s five-wicket loss to Sri Lanka.
3. MS Dhoni reflects on his frustration after he was given LBW
The India vs. Afghanistan ODI match in the 2018 Asia Cup of the Super Four stage ended in a historic tie which also showed Afghanistan’s cricketing caliber. Notably, it featured the unusual sight of MS Dhoni expressing his frustration publicly during the post-match presentation.
Dhoni was controversially given out Leg before wicket to Javed Ahmadi, despite the ball appearing to miss the leg stump on camera. However, India couldn’t challenge the decision with a DRS review as they had none left, making it a memorable and contentious moment in the match.
4. Pathum Nissanka was given out even after ultra edge showed no spike
In the Asia Cup 2022 group stage, Sri Lanka faced a devastating eight-wicket loss to Afghanistan with 59 balls remaining in their tournament opener. Sri Lanka’s batting innings got off to a disastrous start, losing two wickets in the very first over to Fazalhaq Farooqi.
In the second over, opener Pathum Nissanka was dismissed when the wicketkeeper caught a delivery from Naveen-ul-Haq. Despite an inconclusive ultra-edge, the third umpire controversially upheld the decision, leaving Sri Lanka’s coaching staff and fans surprised.
5. Litton Das was adjudged out stumped after a close stumping call
In the 2018 Asia Cup finals, a crucial moment occurred when Kuldeep Yadav bowled a deceptive delivery to Litton Das who eventually failed to read it, and while attempting to block the ball, his back leg momentarily left the crease.
MS Dhoni quickly dislodged the bails, and after multiple replays, the TV umpire ruled Das out, despite inconclusive evidence, raising questions about the benefit of the doubt favoring the batsman in close calls.