Sri Lankan batter Angelo Mathews publicly denounced Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan as “a cheat,” stemming from a divisive incident during their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 match.
Mathews became the first player in international cricket to be declared ‘Timed Out’, a decision that has sparked widespread debate regarding sportsmanship.
Following Sri Lanka’s consequential loss, Mathews expressed his frustration in a press conference and on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). He challenged the decision with video evidence, arguing he had been ready to bat but needed a helmet replacement due to a broken chinstrap. Mathews’ posts emphasized his view of Shakib’s appeal as a breach of justice and fairness.
Cricket Community Reacts to the Controversy
The cricket world reacted strongly to the incident. Notable figures like Dale Steyn, Usman Khawaja, and Gautam Gambhir criticized the decision, questioning its alignment with the ‘spirit of cricket’. Pakistan’s Waqar Younis and India’s Mohammad Kaif also weighed in, with Kaif specifically blaming Shakib for not withdrawing his appeal.
Fourth umpire Adrian Holdstock upheld the decision, highlighting the necessity for a batsman to be prepared within the allotted time. Shakib defended his actions in a post-match press conference, stating he adhered to the rules and had no regrets. Former England captain Michael Vaughan supported Shakib, arguing that the ‘spirit of the game’ is often more a matter of perception than actual rule adherence.