The IPL 2021 cricket match between the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday in Ahmedabad had to be postponed as two KKR players tested positive for COVID-19.
The BCCI confirmed that the match was being rescheduled after Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for COVID-19. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Rajasthan Royals (RR) cricket match, scheduled to take place in Delhi on May 5, has also been postponed. Apparently, CSK are unwilling to take to the field against RR owing to the COVID-19 scare in their camp.
Cricket matches usually get interrupted or cancelled mostly due to rain or weather-related reasons. However, just like the case in IPL 2021, there have been a few instances in the past when cricket matches have had to be cancelled for reasons that can be described as bizarre. We recall three such instances.
#3. A cricket match abandoned due to unplayable pitch
One of the shortest Tests in history, the first Test between England and West Indies in January 1998 at Sabina Park in Jamaica lasted all of 10.1 overs. England elected to bat first after winning the toss. They were soon three down for 17 as the ball was dangerously lifting off a length.
England skipper Mike Atherton (2), Mark Butcher (0) and Nasser Hussain (1) all perished before the batting side could reach double figures. Alec Stewart hung around gamely in his unbeaten 9 off 26, while Graham Thorpe was yet to get off the mark having faced 10 deliveries.
With the ball refusing to behave and striking the batsmen several times in rather discomforting fashion, the umpires Steve Bucknor and Srinivas Venkataraghavan took matters into their own hands and concluded that the pitch was unsafe for cricket.
Lengthy discussions were held and players left the field after 10.1 overs. An hour-and-a-half later, the match was officially abandoned. An additional Test was held at Port of Spain to compensate for the lost encounter in Jamaica.
#2. Pakistan concede 2006 Oval Test over ball-tampering allegations
In what can be considered among the most controversial finishes to a Test match, Pakistan forfeited the 2006 Oval Test against England over ball-tampering allegations.
During the fourth day of the Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval, on-field umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove ruled that the Pakistani team had been involved in ball-tampering. They awarded five penalty runs to England and also offered them a replacement ball.
Protesting the decision, the Inzamam-ul-Haq-led Pakistan refused to take the field after the tea break. After waiting for 20 minutes, the umpires decided to award the match to England, bringing the cricket match to a bizarre end.
Ironically, the Pakistani team did take to the field almost half an hour later, only to be informed by the umpires that the game had been forfeited the moment the bails were removed. England remained the winners of the Test.
It was a sad end to a cricket match that had witnessed some quality cricket. After rolling over England for 173 in their first innings, Pakistan replied with a mammoth 504. Mohammad Yousuf made 128, while Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat fell in the 90s.
England launched a fightback in the second innings courtesy Kevin Pietersen (96) and Alastair Cook (83). The match had an unexpected end though, and a rather abrupt one at that.
#1 A cricket match abandoned due to an act of sabotage
It cannot get more bizarre than this. The third Ashes Test of 1975 in Headingley had to be abandoned over an act of sabotage.
Before the fifth day's play, the pitch was dug up and damaged with knives and oil by vandals, who were campaigning for the release from prison of a convicted criminal. No play was possible on Day 5 and the match had to be declared a draw.
England put up 288 on the board after winning the toss and batting first in this bizarre cricket match. David Steele top-scored with 73 while John Edrich contributed 62. Skipper Tony Greig also chipped in with an unbeaten 51. For Australia, Gary Gilmour claimed 6 for 85.
The Aussies were rolled over for 135 in reply. Australian captain Ian Chappell top-scored with 35 while Phil Edmonds claimed a five-for on debut on England. After England posted 291 in their second innings on the back of Steele’s 92, Australia fought back hard and had progressed to 220 for 3 at the end of the fourth day’s play, with Rick McCosker unbeaten on 95.
What could have been an exciting finish to the cricket match never materialized as oil and knives had the final say in the Test.