Top 10 Cricket Controversies
Cricket is known as a gentleman’s game but if we go down the history of cricket, we can find some incidents that shook the cricket fraternity across the globe and of course, marred the gentlemanly spirit of cricket. Here, let’s take a look at the top 10 cricket controversies in random order, that trembled the arena of the game.
1. The Body-Line Series
The Ashes series of 1932-33 witnessed the most controversial incident in the history of cricket. During that series (popularly known as the Body-Line series), the English bowlers devised a tactic to prevent the Australian batsmen from scoring freely. They stuck to short pitched deliveries in the line of leg stump that were aimed at the batsman’s body. Although no serious injury resulted from that incident, it led to a bitter relationship between the two teams and it also affected the diplomatic relations between England and Australia.
2. The Sydney Riot of 1879
The Sydney Riot of 1879 was a civil disorder that occurred during a cricket match between a touring English Team, captained by Lord Harris and New South Wales, led by Dave Gregory. The riot was initiated by a controversial decision by the umpire when a New South Wales batsman was declared out. The decision caused a furore among the spectators and an angry mob intruded into the ground and assaulted the fielding English players as well as the umpire. It is believed that the riot was sparked by some gamblers, who bet heavily on the home side, because the English team was in a strong position to win the match.
3. The Oval Test Fiasco
On 20th August 2006, on the 4th Day of the 4th Test between England and Pakistan, the world witnessed one of the top 10 controversies of cricket when umpire Darrell Hair accused the Pakistani team of ball tampering and awarded England 5 runs as penalty. As a mark of protest, the Pakistani team refused to take the field after the tea break. The Umpires declared the match forfeited and awarded the match to England. This is the only forfeited Test in the history of cricket.
4. Terrorist Attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team in 2009
March 3, 2009 will be remembered as a Black Letter day in cricket history as the world witnessed one of the most heinous attack on any sports person as the touring Sri Lankan Cricket Team came under a deadly terrorist attack near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. A group of 12 gunmen attacked the bus that the Sri Lankan players were traveling from their hotel to the stadium. 6 Sri Lankan players were injured in the attack. This incident will be surely regarded as the most infamous incident in cricket history.
5. Riot at Eden Garden: 1996 Cricket World Cup
Chasing 252 runs for victory in the semifinal of the 1996 world cup, India slumped to 120 for 8 as India succumbed to pressure. India lost 7 wickets within 22 runs and was inching towards defeat. The pathetic performance by the Indian batsmen set the crowd wild. The angry spectators threw water bottles into the ground and set fire in the stands. Match referee Clive Lloyd halted the match for 15 minutes and later tried to resume the match under tight security. But his effort went in vain as the spectators were in no mood to clam down. The match was eventually awarded to Sri Lanka.
6. The Monkey-Gate controversy: Harbhajan Singh & Andrew Symonds
India’s tour to Australia in 2008 is probably the most controversial Test Series the world has ever seen. The series was marred by controversies, one after the other, as the Australian players displayed utter lack of sportsman spirit during that tour. During the 2nd Test match of that controversial series at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), an ugly altercation between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds raised the eyebrows of the entire cricket fraternity. Andrew Symonds alleged that Harbhajan made a racist remark against him by calling him monkey. Harbhajan was banned for 3 Tests as a consequence. This incident had a bitter effect on India-Australia relationship.
7. Spot fixing fiasco involving Pakistani players
The spot fixing scandal of 2010 involving a few Pakistani cricketers raised quite a few eyebrows when Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were convicted of spot fixing in a Test match against England at Lords. An undercover reporter from an English newspaper exposed the scandal by a video tape, which filmed Amir, Asif and Butt accepting money from a bookie named Mazhar Majeed for bowling deliberate no balls at specific points in an over.
8. Harbhajan – Sreesanth Slap-Gate incident
IPL 2008 turned out to be one of the most embarrassing seasons for Indian speedster Santhakumaran Sreesanth as he was slapped by his Team India team-mate Harbhajan Singh after his team Kings XI Punjab came out victorious against Harbhajan’s team, Mumbai Indians. It was reported that Bhajji slapped Sreesanth when he said “Hard Luck” to Harbhajan on their defeat. Sreesanth was seen crying in the field and his tears could be clearly visible on the TV screen. Harbhajan was banned for 11 IPL matches for this ugly incident.
9. Afridi’s Ball Biting incident in 2010
In an embarrassing incident, Pakistani all-rounder, Shahid Afridi was caught in the camera while biting the ball during an ODI match Australia on 31st January 2010. The charge was laid by the on-field umpires Ashoka de Silva and Paul Reiffel as well as the 3rd umpire, Rod Tucker and 4th umpire Mick Martell. As a consequence, Afridi was banned for 2 T20 international matches. In his defense, Afridi tried a rather hilarious and lame excuse that he was trying to smell the ball.
10. Crisis in Zimbabwe Cricket
Cricket in Zimbabwe was under severe crisis during the period of 2003 to 2007. Many players protested openly and withdrew from the team as a mark of protest against Robert Mugabe’s government, who was accused of creating racist policies for which the white players had to suffer. The period of 2003 to 2007 is one of the darkest phase in the history of Zimbabwe cricket.