Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic hit sport in March 2020, forcing games to be played behind closed doors, and then getting cricket called off altogether. The PSL was suspended before the semi-finals, and all cricket ground to a halt. The men's T20 World Cup was postponed to 2021, the IPL to later in the year, and the launch of the Hundred deferred to 2021. International cricket only returned in July, when West Indies played in England in a biosecure bubble. In 2021, the PSL was hit by Covid again and its second half postponed.

Jun 26, 2022: Rohit Sharma tests positive for Covid-19 | Jun 26, 2022: Ben Foakes withdrawn from Headingley Test after positive Covid-19 test

Corruption in cricket

Though betting on cricket was common in the 19th century, cricket's biggest match-fixing scandal was unearthed in 2000, when Hansie Cronje admitted he had accepted money to throw matches. Players from other countries were also implicated. Since then, even as cricket has gone about strengthening its anti-corruption mechanisms, instances of fixing have cropped up frequently. In 2010, three leading Pakistan players were banned and jailed on fixing charges. In 2013, three Indian players, among them Sreesanth, were arrested for spot-fixing in the IPL.

Jun 14, 2022: Former South African bowler Pumelela Matshikwe convicted in 2015 Ram Slam fixing case | Oct 25, 2021: Ram Slam fixing case: CSA's ACSU officer denies racial discrimination

The future of ODIs

The growth of Twenty20 cricket has raised serious questions over the utility of the 50-over game, and concerns for its future. Though it is still the currency of the two main ICC tournaments, some boards have already shortened their domestic format. Suggestions for change have been plenty and even the ICC is thinking about tweaking the format.

Jun 1, 2022: Bigger window for IPL; restrict T20Is to just World Cups, says Shastri | Jun 9, 2022: If ODIs feel irrelevant now, just wait till the next FTP cycle

Umpiring and technology

Questions of how the use of technology sits beside umpires have sprung to life frequently since the late 20th century. The advent of the DRS in 2008 was controversial at the start, but a decade on, most had accepted it was there to stay. Increasingly the rules of the game have been tweaked to allow for referrals to the third umpire on matters that were previously the purview of the on-field officials.

May 26, 2022: Simon Taufel: 'People think that the way to solve the odd grey area in cricket is to replace it with technology' | Dec 16, 2021: Do we really need neutral umpires anymore?

Chucking

Controversy over illegitimate bowling actions - a burning issue in the 1950s - flared up again in the mid-to-late-1990s after Muttiah Muralitharan was no-balled repeatedly in Australia. Since then a number of bowlers (Shoaib Akhtar, Shoaib Malik, Harbhajan Singh and Jermaine Lawson prominent among them) have undergone remedial work after having their actions reported.

May 22, 2022: Mohammad Hasnain undergoes official bowling test in bid to revive international career | Jun 9, 2022: Mohammad Hasnain cleared to bowl internationally again

Cricket rules

Cricket has never stopped evolving: from round-arm bowling becoming the standard, to the 15-degree rule for arm flexion while bowling. From the number of balls per over to the specifications of equipment - ranging from glove-webbing to bat handles - almost every aspect of the game is regulated. New rules are frequently put in place - especially in the shorter forms of the game, as in the case of Powerplays, free hits, and the tweaking of field restrictions.

Apr 10, 2022: R Ashwin becomes first batter to be tactically retired out in the IPL | Sep 22, 2021: MCC shifts from batsman/batsmen to batter/batters in Laws of Cricket

Drugs

Shane Warne's one-year ban for the use of a diuretic in 2003 was the first reported instance in cricket of the use of performance-enhancing drugs (as opposed to recreational ones, a la Ian Botham, and various Pakistani and South African cricketers down the years). In 2006 Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif were found guilty of using the banned steroid nandrolone

Mar 25, 2022: Zubayr Hamza 'provisionally suspended' by ICC for doping violation | May 17, 2022: Zubayr Hamza gets nine-month ban for doping violation

Racism

Despite cricket's multicultural history, the game has long been blighted by racism. Racial segregation denied late 19th century fast bowler Krom Hendricks a chance to play for South Africa. In the 1960s, the Basil D'Oliveira affair precipitated South Africa's 22-year sporting isolation for its apartheid policies. Tony Greig's infamous statement in 1976 about making West Indies "grovel" is well known, as is Dean Jones casual, off-mic "terrorist" remark aimed at Hashim Amla, and the Monkeygate scandal of 2008. More recently, the Black Lives Movement has forced a reckoning within the game, with boards committing to change as cricketers have spoken up about their continuing experiences with racism and marginalisation.

Feb 8, 2022: PCA Vice-Chair backs up Rafiq's testimony of racist terms in dressing rooms | Jun 23, 2022: Lord Patel: Yorkshire would have gone bust if Headingley Test had been removed

Ball-tampering

Players are barred, by Law 42.3, from rubbing the ball on the ground, interfering with its seam or surface, or using any implement that can alter the condition of the ball to thereby gain unfair advantage. There have been plenty of ugly incidents centring on accusations of ball-tampering through cricket's history: the John Lever "Vaseline" affair in 1976-77; the times England and New Zealand accused Pakistan of it in the early 1990s; Michael Atherton's admission that he used dirt to treat the ball against South Africa in 1994; and perhaps most infamously, the Oval Test of 2006 when Pakistan forfeited the match because they were accused of having tampered with the ball.

Jan 25, 2022: Afghanistan seal 3-0 sweep; Netherlands penalised for ball-tampering | Jan 26, 2022: Netherlands fast bowler Kingma suspended for four matches for ball-tampering

Technology in cricket

For a game as steeped in tradition as cricket is, the question of how much to rely on technology is a perennial - and at certain points over the years has proved an increasingly complex one, as new technologies have been unveiled. The Decision Review System, introduced in 2008, took about a decade to gain widespread acceptance - if not always trust and support across the board among players and administrators.

Dec 5, 2021: Looks fast, feels faster - why the speed gun is only part of the story | Nov 6, 2020: Seven ways to improve T20, starring high-res cameras, shared meals, and more