5 Greatest Controversies In Cricket

Published 06/24/2017, 2:56 PM EDT
Big rule changes are in store for the Test format


Cricket is known a gentleman’s game. It is marked for its spirit, team work and mutual respect which teams share on and off the field. However instances like on field disagreements, sledging, banter and most commonly excess of aggression often lead to ugly spats and altercation giving rise to something which gets the social media going, ‘controversy’. Well controversies aren’t any good, sure they do spice up things and add to ‘entertainment’ but they taint the game we love. Today cricket too has stepped into the era of social media where everyone wants to be trending, add to those shorter games, hotter heads and irresponsible comments and you know that a controversy every now and then has become a part and parcel of the game.

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As we talk of controversy let us look at 5 on-field instances that hit the world of cricket;

5.The Bodyline Series

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(Credits: ESPN Cricinfo)

The Bodyline Series is possibly one of the biggest controversies in cricket. During the Ashes series of 1932-33, the English bowlers formulated a new tactic to prevent the Australian batsmen from scoring at a brisk pace, thus restricting their freedom. The English bowlers resorted to bowling short pitched deliveries aimed at the body of the batsmen. This was devised especially to cramp Don Bradman. Although no players were seriously injured in the process, it dented the relationship between the two teams and also led to bitter diplomatic ties between the two nations. The Bodyline series is rated as one of the most controversial incident in this history of cricket.

4.The Oval Test

(Credits: Sportskeeda)

During Pakistan’s tour of England in 2004, in the 4 test at the Oval umpire Darrell Hair accused the Pakistani team of ball tampering and awarded England 5 runs in order to penalise Pakistan. However controversy erupted when the Pakistanis retaliated and refused to take to the field after the tea break. The umpires stuck to their decision and the match was forfeited, and the match was awarded to England. The Oval test remains the only forfeited test match in the history of cricket.

3.Hansie Cronje

(Credits: Cricktracker.com)

Hansie Cronje was South Africa’s one of the most iconic cricketer of 1990. He was one of the finest ambassadors of South African cricket; his personality embodied what a cricketer must represent discipline, uncompromising, talented and a great leader. However all the admiration for Cronje was in shambles, as it was revealed by the Delhi Police that Cronje accepted money from bookmakers and they had recordings of his conversation with a representative of the Indian betting syndicate. It was this match fixing scandal which shook the cricketing world. Cronje quit captaincy in disgrace and was later banned in 2000 from playing cricket and coaching for life. The story had a sad ending as Cronje was killed in a plane crash incident two years later.

2.The Monkey Gate Controversy

(Credits: Indiatimes)

The test series played during India’s tour of Australia back in 2008 is probably the most controversy marred test series, the cricketing world has witnessed. The series was flooded with controversies, one occurring after another. The tour was marred by Australian players displaying an utter lack of sportsman spirit and denting the true spirit of cricket. An ugly altercation took place between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds during the second test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Symonds accused Harbhajan of making a racist remark by calling him a ‘monkey’. As a consequence Harbhajan was banned for 3 test matches. The incident resulted in a bitter relationship between the two teams.

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1.Spot Fixing involving Pakistani Players.

(Credits: BBC News)

The spot fixing scandal of 2010 moved the cricketing world gravely. Three young Pakistani players who were so promising and exuded talent in every move they made were convicted of spot fixing in a test match versus England at Lords. The scandal was exposed by an undercover reporter from an English newspaper, who secretly filmed Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir of Pakistan accepting bribe from a bookie for purposely bowling no balls at specific points in an over, this incident is one of the darkest defaming one in the history of cricket.

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Though these instances became a part of ‘what’s-trending?’ and fed the social media columns, they pretty much dented the spirit of cricket, we hope fewer controversies visit cricket in future.

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Akshay Shah

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