Controversial former Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi has sensationally accused cricket's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), of conspiring to arrange India's entry into the semifinals of the ongoing T20 World Cup in Australia. Shahid Afridi's wild conspiracy charge came after India batting icon Virat Kohli was accused of “fake fielding” by the Bangladesh team after their 5-run loss to the Men in Blue in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Bangladesh wicketkeeper batter Nurul Hasan dubbed Virat Kohli's act as “cheating” and even questioned the decision of the on-field umpires not to levy a penalty on the Indian cricket team.

“Shakib Al Hasan said the same thing and it was shown on the screen as well. You saw the ground how wet it was. But I feel that the ICC is somewhat inclined towards India. They want to ensure that India reach the semifinals at any cost. And the umpires were also the same who officiated the India vs Pakistan game. The world knows they will get the best umpire awards,” Shahid Afridi said on Samaa TV.

“I know what happened. Given the amount of rain that happened, the game resumed immediately after the break. It is very evident that that ICC, then India playing, then the pressure that comes with it, there are many factors involved but Litton's batting was amazing,” Shahid Afridi added.

“He played positive cricket. After six overs, we felt that if Bangladesh didn’t lose wickets for another 2-3 overs, they would have won the match. Overall, the fight shown by Bangladesh was brilliant,” Shahid Afridi stated.

The incident appeared to have taken place in the seventh over the Bangla Tigers' run chase. With Bangladesh chasing India's steep total of 184, Litton Das was going all guns blazing, smashing the opposition's bowlers all over the park. In the process, Litton Das struck a shot in the deep and as Arshdeep Singh threw the ball back toward India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, who was fielding at point, feigned to have collected it before taking a shot at the non-striker's end.

But as nobody noticed the controversial episode, the on-field umpires, Chris Brown and Marais Erasmus, didn't take any kind of action.

However, the decision of the umpires left Nurul Hasan fuming who subsequently raised the matter in his interaction with the media after the game.

“We all saw that it was a wet ground,” Nurul Hasan said. “Eventually, when we talk about these things, there was also a fake throw. It could have been a five-run penalty. That also could have gone our way, but unfortunately, even that didn't materialise.”

Notably, Nurul Hasan's allegations against Virat Kohli came across as false, per the ICC's rules.

According to cricket's global governing body, the umpires can levy a five-run penalty on the opposition team if a player or a group of players are seen making a deliberate attempt to distract, deceive, or obstruct the batter of a batting side.

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In Virat Kohli's case, multiple videos showed that he neither “distracted nor deceived or obstructed” any Bangladeshi batsman.

But former India opener Aakash Chopra gave a new twist to Virat Kohli's “fake fielding” saga after he backed Bangladesh's claim that the talismanic batter “cheated” on the field.

“Yes, that was 100 percent fake fielding because of the way Kohli attempted to throw the ball. If the umpires had seen him do that, we would've been slapped with a five-run penalty and we've won by five runs only. So we escaped here but next time if someone does this then the umpires will have to be more careful. So are Bangladesh right? Yes, they are but nobody noticed it then so can't do anything now,” Aakash Chopra said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

Interestingly, Aakash Chopra's fellow cricket pundit Harsha Bhogle had a different take on the matter.

Speaking about the controversy on Twitter, Harsha Bhogle took a jibe at the Shakib Al Hasan-led side as he declared that the row was created just to divert attention from their defeat to India.

“So, for my friends in Bangladesh, please don't look at fake fielding or wet conditions as a reason for not reaching the target. If one of the batters had stayed till the end, Bangladesh could have won it. We are all guilty of it….when we search for excuses, we don't grow,” Harsha Bhogle tweeted.

Harsha Bhogle further said, “On the fake fielding incident, the truth is that nobody saw it. The umpires didn't, the batters didn't and we didn't either. Law 41.5 does make provision for penalising fake fielding (the umpire still has to interpret it thus) but no one saw it. So what do you do!”

Shahid Afridi has often courted controversy with his statements and has even been accused of being a “liar and a manipulator” in the past.

Earlier this year, former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria called him out for his religious bias towards him. Kaneria is the only Hindu to play for the Islamic nation.

“I was always degraded by Shahid Afridi. We used to play together for the same department, he used to keep me on the bench and didn't let me play the one-day tournament. He didn't want me to be in the team. He was a liar, a manipulator because he's a characterless person,” Danish Kaneria told IANS.