ICC Reacts To Ball-Changing Controversy In Ashes 2023 final

The recently-concluded Ashes 2023 series between England and Australia was not devoid of controversies, with the final match of the closely-contested series raising eyebrows over a ball-change incident. During Day 4 of the match, a 36-over-old ball was replaced with a new one, and Australia raised concerns about the new ball being shinier and harder than it should have been. The ball change proved pivotal, leading to a collapse of wickets and ultimately resulting in Australia’s defeat by 49 runs.

Australian cricket legends Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath were among those who expressed their displeasure regarding the incident. Both iconic players criticized the decision, with Ponting highlighting the significant discrepancy in the condition of the new ball compared to the replaced one. He expressed frustration over the lack of similarity between the two balls, questioning the selection process and its impact on the match’s outcome.

“The biggest concern I have is the big discrepancy in the condition of the ball that was chosen to replace. There’s no way in the world you can even look at those two balls there and say in any way are they comparable. If you are going to change the ball, you want to make sure that you get it right, so it is as close as you possibly can to the one that you’re changing it from. Now if you have a look in that box, there weren’t too many older-condition balls in there. There were some older ones that were picked up, the umpires looked at that and threw them back,” Ponting said on Sky Sports.

In response to the controversy, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has clarified the protocol for such situations. A spokesperson for the global cricket governing body stated that the ICC does not comment on the decisions made by umpires during matches. However, they confirmed that all balls are pre-selected before the start of every match, and when required, the match officials choose a ball that closely matches the condition of the ball being replaced.

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“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,” a spokesperson for the global cricket governing body said.

Despite the ICC’s explanation, the ball-change incident has sparked debates and discussions among cricket enthusiasts and experts. Questions linger about the fairness of the selection process and its influence on the game’s dynamics. The authorities will likely face scrutiny as they seek to address concerns the cricketing community raises.
The Ashes series has historically been known for its intense competition and fierce rivalries between England and Australia.

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