Know some of the infamous instances when we witnessed some intense arguments and fights on the cricket field

Cricket has always been hailed as a gentleman’s game and why not? The way different countries play against each other with utmost respect and dignity during International games is worthy of taking note of. Over the years, the game has evolved to a great extent. From just playing against different nations to embracing the concept of blending players of different nationalities for domestic T20 tournaments, we have seen the game evolve to a great extent. Be it during the times of Sunil Gavaskar, Vivian Richards, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting or modern-day greats like Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, MS Dhoni, Babar Azam, Kane Williamson, only the players have changed, not the intensity of players when on the cricket field. While more often than not, players start their day on the field with the intent that they would want to adhere to the ‘spirit of the game’, at times, things become difficult during intense situations. It is in such situations where often, players have found themselves in a catch 22 situation after they lost their cool. From hurling abuses to getting involved in physical abuse to even the extent of throwing bats, we have seen it all happen on the 22 yards. Yes, it’s true that most of these on-field fights have been limited strictly to the ground and not beyond that, cricket lovers have been witness to certain scary situations where they perhaps felt that things went a little overboard. So today, we take a close look at 10 of the most shocking incidents on the cricket field between players that truly stunned one and all.

Sreesanth – Harbhajan Singh: This has to go down in Indian cricket history as one of the most controversial and scandalous incidents. The big reason why this was shocking is that it happened between two players who represent the same country. It was during the first season of IPL that this incident was caught on camera. Apparently, during a game between Kings Xi Punjab and Mumbai Indians, Sreesanth and Harbhajan had a heated moment. Sreesanth was representing Kings Xi Punjab and Bhajji was with Mumbai Indians. After the game was over and when the players were exchanging pleasantries, Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth hard on his face leaving the cricketer and everyone around him in complete shock. Sreesanth was caught on camera weeping while being consoled by his fellow teammates. The good thing however is that keeping that incident behind, both Harbhajan and Sreesanth moved ahead and even went on to represent India playing for the same squad. Well, all’s well that ends well.

Andrew Flintoff – Yuvraj Singh: If you are someone who’s a big fan of Indian cricket, there’s absolutely no way you can forget this big day. It was during the 2007 T20 World Cup when India was playing against England at Kingsmead, Durban. Around the 15th over stage of the game when India was dominating the game with the bat, something triggered between Yuvraj Singh and England’s Andrew Flintoff because of whom the players and the umpire had to intervene. While Flintoff was the one fielding, it was actually Stuart Broad who had to bear the brunt of Yuvi’s anger. Immediately after the argument, Yuvi smoked Broad for 6 sixes in an over and even today, it is a historical moment since such a thing has never happened after that in International cricket. ‘Chakde Phatte’ stuff from Yuvi indeed.

Kamran Akmal-Gautam Gambhir: Whenever India and Pakistan play against each other, the intensity is always high as nobody wants to lose the game when it matters the most. Although in modern-day cricket, more often than not, we see Team India and Pakistan playing against each other with a lot of respect and admiration, it wasn’t much the case in 2009 when India and Pakistan played against each other during an important tournament. Around the middle stages of the ODI game, Gautam Gambhir who was batting on the field had a humongous tussle against Pakistan’s WKB, Kamran Akmal. It all started when Akmal appealed for a caught behind wicket out of nowhere when the ball didn’t even nick Gambhir’s bat. The situation became so intense that the umpires as well as MS Dhoni who was batting with Gambhir at the other end had to step in to ensure it didn’t get worse. It will always go down in history as one of the most intense and forgettable moments between India and Pakistan on the cricket field.

Shahid Afridi-Gautam Gambhir: Whenever India and Pakistan have played cricket against each other, the environment on-field has more often been peaceful and competitive. However, it seems like whenever the two cricket teams have had on-field altercations, Gautam Gambhir seems to have a knack for being there every time. While his altercation on the field with Kamran Akmal made a lot of news, back during the 2005-2006 period, Gambhir and Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi had a huge verbal battle on the cricket field. Abuses were hurled at each other which were caught on stump-mic and guess what? Even today, the animosity between the two seems to be there and that’s why Gambhir and Afridi don’t speak very highly of each other.

Shane Warne-Marlon Samuels: Shane Warne has undoubtedly been one of the finest spin bowlers in the history of the game and during his International career, he has taken more than 600 wickets. During his entire International career, he always managed to keep a cool head and play the game with intensity yet with a lot of respect. However, there was this one occasion when he had a huge on-field altercation with West Indies player Marlon Samuels during the Big Bash League. The situation went so hostile that not just verbal abuse, it even went on to the extent of pulling each other’s collar and physical fist involvement. The result of this was that Warne had to deal with a ban for some matches.

Kieron Pollard-Mitchell Starc: Both Kieron Pollard are two cricketers who are extremely competitive and fierce on the cricket field. While Pollard is known best for his big-hitting abilities, Starc is an effortless left-armer swing bowler who has the ability to trouble any batsman with his seam movement. It was during an IPL clash between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore that things suddenly heated up between the two. Abuses were hurled at each other and Pollard got so angry that he even tried throwing a bat toward Starc to injure. Virat Kohli and the umpires intervened and the visuals left everyone in shock, especially because no one knew what perhaps triggered the act.

Virat Kohli-Mitchell Johnson: Both Virat Kohli and Mitchell Johnson are two cricketers who like to dominate their opponents in the best way possible whenever they are on the field. While Virat has been in the prime of his career for many years, Mitchell Johnson is undoubtedly one of the most challenging fast bowlers to play from Australia. Test cricket is undoubtedly the ultimate level of cricket as it tests the determination, grit and mental strength of a player when it matters the most. During the Test series between India and Australia around 2014-2015, India and Australia were fighting hard on the field. Johnson tried his best to intimidate Kohli when he was batting in full flow but ‘King Kohli’ being ‘King Kohli’, he gave it back to Johnson with the bat with full aggression. Thewar of words continued throughout the entire series and it became so intense that during the game, when Johnson was unable to get wickets, he even threw the ball at Kohli when he tried to sneak in a run.

Sourav Ganguly-Stuart Broad: Both Sourav Ganguly and Stuart Broad come from two different generations. Ganguly started playing International cricket around 1996 actively and during the year 2007, he was playing his final few years of International cricket. That’s the same time when Stuart Broad burst into the English cricket scene. While more often than not, you expect young cricketers to show respect for seniors on the field, it wasn’t really the case with Broad. During the NatWest series in 2007, when Ganguly tried to step out of the field to hit Broad for a four, he failed because the ball was stopped by a field in the cover region. This made Broad chirp a lot and it made Ganguly furious. The result? The very next ball, Ganguly stepped out of the crease and whacked him for a six straight and said something to him in return. Sunil Gavaskar who was on the commentary panel at that time even mentioned Broad’s conduct and also mentioned that Ganguly might have told Broad after the six that “Listen, you were in your nappies when I first played cricket for India.” This particular line is still fresh in the minds and hearts of one and all.

Virat Kohli-Gautam Gambhir: This incident was undoubtedly one of the most shocking incidents in IPL history, especially because it was again about two players who represent the same country at an International level. Both Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli are intense, aggressive cricketers by nature and henceforth, their passion often leads them into rubbing their opposition the wrong way. Well, this time, they happened against each other during an IPL game in 2013. Apparently, Gambhir got a bit excited after getting Kohli dismissed during an IPL game between KKR and RCB and while Kohli was going back to the dugout, he apparently said something that irked Kohli. This resulted in a huge fallout between the two for about two minutes. The surprising thing for fans was that it was the same Gautam Gambhir who had once handed over his ‘Man Of The Match’ trophy to Kohli after he played well against Sri Lanka during an ODI in 2009. However, the good thing was that it was just a matter of 10 minutes and ever since then, the duo maintained good camaraderie off the cricket field.

Ravindra Jadeja-Suresh Raina: Last but certainly not least, this has to go down in Indian cricket history as one of the most infamous incidents where two players from the same International team argued against each other and almost had a fight during an International game. It was during an International game between India and West Indies. Jadeja was bowling and he was apparently not very happy with Raina’s fielding effort. Apparently, Raina opted to save runs where Jadeja felt he could have gone ahead for a catch for the dismissal. The irony over here is that Suresh Raina has been one of the best fielders for team India and that’s why Jadeja getting upset with Raina for fielding is bizarre at a different level. Both of them had a disagreement on the cricket field for a few seconds but the good thing was that it was resolved immediately by other Team India players to ensure things don’t blow out of proportion. Luckily, it was just a one-time thing and even after that, Jadeja and Raina have played on many occasions together, both for India as well as Chennai Super Kings to help their teams to victory.

Well, cricket might be hailed as a gentleman’s game but hey, “To err is human” right? At the end of the day, even players are humans and just like any other human beings, they also have their ups and downs on the cricket field, especially during intense, nail-biting situations. The pressure to deliver is so high in today’s players that often we see a deserving cricketer missing out on the opportunity to make the cut in the next game in case he fails to deliver for more than 2-3 matches at a stretch. While we would always want our players to play with each other with mutual respect and dignity, the fans are certainly not complaining if they at times decide to resort to sledging in order to get the best out of themselves. At the end of the day, it’s only for the greater cause of the game. Keep up the ‘fighting’ spirit lads. Just not always ‘literally’.

About The Author
Subhojit Ghosh

27, Entertainment Anchor, Passionate Writer, Talk-show host and someone who keeps genuine interest in entertainment as an art form. Loves to travel. Talks for a living.

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