Top 5 spats in Indian cricket

1) Virender Shewag vs MS Dhoni

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It all came out open in India’s disastrous tour of Australia 2011-12. India were whitewashed 4-0 in Test series and were under pressure in a tri-nation series involving Sri Lanka and the hosts- Australia. Truth be told, Dhoni and Sehwag were never great friends but their differences of opinion was never this severe as was evident on that tour. Dhoni, after the crushing defeat against Australia in one the ODI match, had stated that the three senior players – Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir – were not being picked together in the tournament because they are slow fielders and could cost the side at least 20 runs.

Sehwag, who was playing a stand-in skipper in the next match, retorted and said Dhoni gave a different reason to them for playing youngsters. “What he told us was to give chance to youngsters and come here and play the next World Cup. That was what he told us,” Sehwag said. When reporters further pressed Indian maverick opner on his opinion on slow fielding, he replied:”Did you see my catch.” Sehwag was then referring to a catch he took in that match against Sri Lanka.

2) S Sreesanth vs Harbhajan Singh

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Arguably the ugliest fight of our generation took place between S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh in the first edition of IPL. Harbhajan Singh found himself embroiled in controversy after allegedly slapping the then Kings XI fast bowler S Sreesanth during their Indian Premier League show down.

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The incident came to light as Sreesanth was caught by TV cameras crying on the field before the presentation ceremony. Sreesanth later downplayed the incident saying he had no complaints against Harbhajan who was “like an elder brother” to him. Harbhajan’s team had lost their third consecutive match when he apparently reacted violently to Sreesanth’s approaching him and allegedly saying “hard luck”. The IPL disciplinary commitee banned Harbhajan from the remainder of the tournament and prohibited him from collecting his salary after finding him guilty. The BCCI launched a separate investigation into the incident and decided to ban Harbhajan for five ODIs, deeming him to have broken the code of conduct in his national contract.

But, five years after the incident a restless Sreesanth claimed that there was more to the story than what several video clips on YouTube show and that the real video, which he claims is with the IPL organizers, will reveal the truth.

Sreesanth reportedly came out with a series of Tweets on slap gate claimimg he cannot stand further humiliation. He entirely blamed Harbhajan and said the off-spinner was “completely out of control”.

3) Kapil Dev vs Sunil Gavaskar

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This was a clash of two ‘Titans’ of Indian cricket in mid 1980s. On one hand, arguably, the greatest Test opener India ever had (his record against the West Indies is stuff of legends. There are many calypso songs written for him), and on the other hand, this was there was darling of Indian public and an undisputed hero of India’s 1983 World Cup triumph— one of India’s greatest natural cricketer ever — Kapil Dev.

It was 1984 Kolkata Test match against visiting English team when for the first time the rift came out in open after Gavaskar dropped Kapil Dev from a Test match which delayed Kapil’s 100 Test match. And this ensured a rivalry never to be forgotten. He was dropped as a punishment for playing reckless shot in the second Test match at Delhi. India had won the first Test match at the Wankhede. On the fifth day of the second Test at Feroz Shah Kotla, the match seemed to be heading for a draw. India had wiped out the 111 run first innings deficit and were cruising at 207 for four with a session and a bit to go. It was then that Sandeep Patil holed and Kapil Dev, contrary to the demand of the team, played reckless shot which triggered Indian collapse. India lost their last six wickets for 28 runs and England knocked off the required few runs easily.

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Gavaskar was understandably furious with the lack of discipline shown by both Patil and Kapil. After the selectors, headed by Chandu Borde, met with the captain to pick the side for the next match, a unanimous decision was announced that both the guilty players were going to be dropped.

The aftermath of the decision was murky as Kapil accused Gavaskar for his omission, the captain defended himself by saying that he had been late for the selection committee meeting and had not said a word. The then Board President, NKP Salve, had to summon both players and persuade them to bury the differences.

The crowd at Kolkata, chanted “No Kapil, No Test”, and pelted Gavaskar with rotten vegetables and fruits, prompting him to vow that he would not play there again. He kept his word when India played Pakistan at the Eden Gardens in 1986-87. However, both have moved on with time and are now often seen commentating together.

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4) Navjot Singh Sidhu vs Mohammad Azharuddin

This spat might even qualify as one the greatest mysteries of Indian cricket. In 1996 on England tour, Navjot Singh Sidhu flew back to India before the start of the Test series after a spat with Mohammad Azharuddin. That there was an ugly fight is well documented but what was said exactly between the two remained unknown for over 15 years.

Former Indian opener Navjot Singh Sidhu walked out of because he thought his captain Mohammad Azharuddin was constantly abusing him, according to former BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele. Lele, in his book, claimed in his book that Azhar used a Hyderabadi slang which offended Sidhu.

The tour is remembered for the infamous walk-out by opener Sidhu, citing differences with his captain, however, the exact reasons have never been spelt out by the persons in the middle of this drama or by BCCI.

5) Suresh Raina vs Ravindra Jadeja

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Many fans of this generation will relate to this fight. It took place in a recently concluded tri-series between India-Sri Lanka-West Indies. India’s Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina were involved in a heated on-field argument over a dropped catch during India’s tri-series match against the West Indies.

Eventhough India defeated West Indies by 102 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-curtailed match but the ugly incident involving the duo hogged the limelight.

The incident happened after Jadeja dismissed West Indies batsman Sunil Narine caught by Ishant Sharma.

After the dismissal, Jadeja was seen walking upto Raina and saying a few things which the Uttar Pradesh batsman didn’t find kind. Raina also replied and before things could get out of hand, skipper Virat Kohli intervened and told Raina to cool down.

Jadeja was apparently annoyed as Raina failed to judge a catch offered by Narine in his previous over. Jadeja may have also been unhappy that Raina didn’t attempt for a Narine catch earlier which might have tempted the Saurashtra all-rounder to loose his cool.

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