Is cricket really a gentleman's game?
Australia’s swashbuckling opener, David Warner, was in news for all the wrong reasons during the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy. Few days after England’s comprehensive victory over their arch rivals, Australia, in their group stage match of ICC Champions Trophy, Warner got involved in a bar room brawl with England’s Joe Root.
David Warner was found guilty of starting the brawl and was later penalized with a heavy sum for causing such a mishap. As a result of this incident, Warner was ruled out of remaining matches of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.
However, according to reliable sources, he still might be available for the ongoing Ashes series against England.
This incident brings us back to the dilemma: Is cricket a gentleman’s game anymore?
This was certainly not the first instance of such a fight having taken place between two players from different countries. There have been several such incidents, where legendary and elite players have been involved in a fight thereby undermining the spirit of the game.
Here are some instances where players have been involved in fights with each other on and off the field.
Ian Botham vs Greg Chappell
This incident took place in a Melbourne Hotel where both of them reached the same bar room. Ian Botham continuously tried to stop Greg Chappell from bad mouthing about England but when Chappell did not bother, Botham lost his cool and punched him on his chin. However, in 2010 when both these former players were brought in front of each other, they had almost caused a chaos before being controlled by the TV crew members.
Andrew Symonds vs Harbhajan Singh
Discipline and behaving in the right attitude, even off the field, matters a lot in every sport, but cricket known as a ‘gentleman’s game’ was struck a heavy blow again in the 2nd edition of the ICC World T20 when Australia’s all rounder Andrew Symonds came into limelight for being involved in a late night drinking episode.
Well, Andrew Symonds has been involved in the most ‘famous fights in cricketing history’ with Indian off spinner Harbhajan Singh too.
In the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar series of 2007-08 in Australia, Symonds and Harbhajan got involved in a verbal spat on the field. The frustrating 100 run partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh for the eighth wicket was annoying the Aussies for a long time and India had even managed a steady lead over the hosts’ first innings total.
Just when Harbhajan crossed his fifty and was looking settled for a big score, Symonds exchanged a few words with him between the overs which resulted in a big chaos on the field for sometime. At the end, the umpires had to come in between as the fight started taking an ugly shape and lots of players had also got involved (Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden & Sachin Tendulkar).
The altercation took a time to settle down and later on, after the end of the match, both Singh and Symonds were called by ICC to introspect the matter. Finally, Harbhajan Singh was banned on account of racial abuse and served a three match ban.