In cricket we witness a lot of animated action on field, but a lot of it is also hidden from us. Eleven players coming from different backgrounds, playing and staying with each other, what must they be doing inside the dressing room? Do they play pranks like we do? Do they fight? Is there anyone who motivates the team when the cards are down? What happens when the team loses? Or when it wins? Like most cricket followers you too must have wondered about these at some point. We get to know a few moments when the players themselves narrate these behind the scene moments, while others are leaked into the media as controversies which are most of the time played down by players as rumours. But what if they weren’t just rumours but true incidents?
Here is a sneak peek into cricket’s behind-the-scene moments, as we narrate to you 5 dressing room controversies that have been known to hit the world of cricket;
5.The James Anderson – Damien Martyn fiasco
During the 2006/07 Ashes series, an agitated James Anderson who was egged by Australian cricketer Damien Martyn attacked Michael Clarke with a batsman’s pad inside the dressing room at the Adelaide Oval. The incident occurred post Australia’s six wicket victory, Anderson reasoned that he attacked Clarke because he could not withstand the latter’s arrogance.
However Martyn’s role in the attack didn’t go well with his team mates. He also got involved in an altercation with Mathew Hayden because of the incident. Hayden later on tagged Martyn as “the biggest wanker on the planet”. As a repercussion to this incident Martyn announced his retirement a couple of days later.
This particular incident was recalled and narrated by Anderson in his autobiography Jimmy: My Story
4.The Shikhar Dhawan- Virat Kohli Spat
During India’s tour of Australia in 2014, on the fourth day of the Brisbane test. Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan had a go at each other in the dressing room after the formers early dismissal. Dhawan was unbeaten at stumps on day three and was supposed to resume the next morning. However Dhawan informed the team management that he had injured his elbow during the practice session and will be unable to go out and bat. As a result Kohli was asked replace Dhawan at the eleventh hour. As reports stated Kohli had only seven minutes to prepare himself mentally.
The uneasiness showed in Kohli’s batting as he got out early. Post his early dismissal Kohli stormed into the dressing room and had a go at Dhawan accusing him of faking an injury, the duo got involved in a heated argument. This led to unrest in the team. After the match the entire fiasco was leaked in the media and was being reasoned for the growing ‘tension’ in the dressing room.
However M.S. Dhoni who was the Indian test skipper then, shot down any such happening and made a joke of the situation in the press conference in his trademark witty style,
“Yeah actually that was the case (on the fight). Virat used a knife. Then he stabbed Shikhar who just recovered out of that and then pushed him out to bat.” He said.
“Marvel maybe, Warner Bros, somebody should pick up from this and make a nice movie out of this. I don’t know where it comes from. If someone from the team has actually told you this… his imagination is really brilliant and he should be working for one of the movie companies. He doesn’t deserve to be in our dressing room because he’s created something was not really there.” He further added.
3. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid
Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are two stalwarts of Indian Cricket, perfect gentlemen and the best of friends but at one point back in 2004 the two came at loggerheads. During the Multan test in 2004, Rahul Dravid was leading the men in blue who were cruising over Pakistan riding on Sehwag’s triple ton. In that match Tendulkar was batting at 194 and was close to reaching a milestone, when Dravid strangely declared the innings.
Tendulkar later confessed that he was fuming inside as he made his way towards the dressing room. Dravid came up to him trying to explain him his point that there was time constraint and he declared for the better of the team, but Tendulkar took none.
Vice-captain Sourav Ganguly and Coach John Wright later on apologised to Tendulkar for what had happened, however he dismissed them and expressed that he was extremely unhappy and would like to be left alone. The incident was a sour one as Tendulkar missed a milestone by a small margin, however, this did not affect the duo’s relationship, and they still continue to remain close friends.
2. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis
Shoaib Akhtar in his autobiography ‘Controversially Yours’ narrates the increased tension in the dressing room during the 1999, Asian Test Championship induced by constant feud between two ace-bowlers and senior members of the team Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Pakistan lost the Delhi test and this led to the senior duo getting involved in a feud which grew so ugly that rumours started doing rounds that Waqar Younis will be sent home. The ugly spat between the two led to Shoaibs selection for the Eden test.
“Meanwhile, we lost the Delhi Test and Wasim got into an argument with Waqar. It got so bad that rumour started doing rounds that Waqar was to be sent back home. The two seniors were at war and we were a young and fresh team. Everyone was stressed out and amidst all this, it was decided that I would play” Akhtar writes.
1.The Tehelka expose
Indian news magazine Tehelka carried sting operations in the year 2000 on players like Ravi Shastri, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Manoj Prabhakar and Kiran More. The sting operation shows players revealing instances where under world Don Dawood Ibrahim entered the dressing room and was once shown the door by Kapil Dev. It also shows players confessing bizarre instances where they were called and narrated the plot for the following days match and asked to play accordingly. In one of the sting Ravi Shastri reveals how Mohammed Azharuddin bought Bhutani’s watch by paying him 5 lakh rupees in cash on the spot. The series of stings also sees players narrating incidences where they were being convinced by their colleagues to lose matches. The Tehelka expose was a big controversy that shook Indian Cricket.
Well the list of dressing room controversies could go on and on, and with the manner in which Indian team’s Coach Anil Kumble has departed we’re surely up for some more insider news, and dressing secrets, but only time will reveal those.
For the well being and good health of the game we all love, we hope there aren’t too many controversies to join the list in future.