The recent collision between Bangladeshi youngster cricketer Mustafizur Rahman and MS Dhoni has got place in the top 10 pitch battles in the world cricket history.
The line about cricket being a gentleman’s game is parroted often, and there are as many examples to suggest it remains one, as there are that prove it isn’t, according to Wisden India.
Every now and then, players give in to their baser instincts and frustrations before sanity (read: umpires and the laws of the game) intervenes. Even in the case of Quinton de Kock and his involvement in a shoulder-barging incident with Tamim Iqbal during the Chittagong Test, justice was swift.
Here, Wisden India looks at 10 famous instances when tensions bubbled over on the field of play, resulting in fines, bans, and even quality time with lawyers.
1. Javed Miandad v Dennis Lillee
The mother of all cricket fights. It was the Perth Test in 1981, and Javed Miandad had played the ball behind square on the leg side for a single off Dennis Lillee, but collided with the bowler as he was completing the run. Eyewitnesses agreed with Miandad’s assertion that Lillee came in his way deliberately, while Lillee insisted that Miandad struck him from behind with his bat. But there was little debate about what happened next: Lillee kicked Miandad, Miandad looked ready to club him with the bat, and poor umpire Tony Crafter was caught in the middle. Unsurprisingly, both players were fined.
2. Darren Gough v Roshan Mahanama
In the match between England and Sri Lanka in 1999, things unraveled fast after Muttiah Muralitharan was no-balled by umpire Ross Emerson for chucking. Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka captain, gathered his troops at the edge of the outfield in protest, but was directed to get on with the game by Sri Lankan officials. Once that happened, Alec Stewart deliberately bumped into Roshan Mahanama, who shoulder barged Darren Gough while taking a run, who in turn mouthed a few words and feigned a head-butt. Suffice to say, neither team came out looking too good.
3. John Snow v Sunil Gavaskar
In the Test at Lord’s in 1971, John Snow created a ruckus after ramming into Sunil Gavaskar as the Indian opener was trying to sneak a single. Snow must have realised his folly as soon as Gavaskar, half his size, went tumbling down, and Billy Griffith, the secretary of the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB) gave him a stern dressing down. Snow was also dropped for the rest of the series on disciplinary grounds but was called up for the third and final Test when John Price had to be left out because of fitness issues.
4. Raman Lamba v Rashid Patel
During the 1990-91 Duleep Trophy final between North Zone and West Zone, Rashid Patel sent down a beamer to Raman Lamba and then proceeded to attack the batsman with a stump, chasing him to the boundary. The reason? Rashid was upset with North’s defensive tactics (the side had piled up 729 for 9) and took it upon himself to deliver justice. The two had been talking to each other all through anyway, but this was out of control. The crowd got into the game, creating a riot. Rashid and Lamba were later handed 13 and ten-month bans respectively.
5. Gautam Gambhir v Shahid Afridi and Shane Watson
Jaws 2, Grease 2, Batman & Robin … sequels aren’t often as good as the original, and that goes double for cricket quarrels when you have a match referee that knows your track record. A mid-pitch argy-bargy between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi during an ODI in 2007 might have been overlooked keeping in mind the India v Pakistan backdrop, but an unsavoury sequel less than a year later, also starring Gambhir, made the argument moot. An elbow to Shane Watson’s chest during a Test in 2008 resulted in a one-Test ban for the Indian opener, while the Australian allrounder was slapped with a minor fine for his clenched fist.
6. Marlon Samuels v Shane Warne
During a Big Bash League game between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades in 2013, Marlon Samuels tugged on David Hussey’s shirt while he was scrambling for a run. Perhaps he was innocently inquiring about its thread count, but Shane Warne didn’t look at it kindly, returning the favour when Samuels was batting. Deliberately or otherwise, he hit Samuels with his throw, and Samuels flung his bat in the general direction of Warne in retaliation. Hit-and-giggle cricket this certainly wasn’t, but while Warne earned a hefty fine, Samuels got off with a warning.
7. Andrew Symonds v Harbhajan Singh
If both teams can compete hard and entertain the spectators without any untoward incidents, it will be the best tribute they could pay Phillip Hughes.It was the spat that nearly snowballed into an international crisis.
Harbhajan Singh had an exchange with Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test in 2008, during which he allegedly called Symonds a “monkey”, a racial slur, and was handed a three-match ban. The Indian team levelled a counter-claim of abuse against Brad Hogg and threatened to abandon the tour if the charges against Harbhajan weren’t dropped. What followed was a hearing in which oral statements from various players, including Sachin Tendulkar, were heard and the charge was downgraded to one amounting to abuse and not racism, resulting in a minor fine. While the Indian team was happy with the outcome, Symonds felt betrayed by Cricket Australia for not backing him to the hilt.
8. James Anderson v Ravindra Jadeja
James Anderson’s reputation as a habitual sledger nearly came back to bite him during the Trent Bridge Test against India in 2014. Anderson was charged for allegedly abusing and pushing Ravindra Jadeja at the start of the lunch break, but the England and Wales Cricket Board refused to back down and counter-charged Jadeja with having turned towards Anderson in a threatening manner. But without video evidence or independent witnesses, both were found not guilty, with lawyers hired by both parties having the last laugh.
9. Kieron Pollard v Mitchell Starc
No love was lost between Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc during an Indian Premier League match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2014. Starc exchanged a few words with Pollard, but it was dismissed with a wave of a hand. Pollard then pulled away a Starc neared his delivery stride. A fired-up Starc bowled the ball straight at Pollard, who responded by tossing his bat. Their team-mates and the umpires stepped in and both players were fined, and Albie Morkel, Starc’s Bangalore team-mate, was spot on when he said later that “it made for great theatre but it shouldn’t happen on a cricket field”.
10. Mustafizur Rahman v MS Dhoni
The bigger they are the harder they fall. That’s what happened when India were schooled by Bangladesh’s pace bowlers in June. But Mustafizur Rahman, the 19-year-old debutant who grabbed 5 for 50 in that match, learnt that wasn’t literally the case when he collided with MS Dhoni but ended up off balance. The bowler got away with walking in Rohit Sharma’s path earlier, but Dhoni appeared to shove Mustafizur out of the way, though he said later that he tried his best to soften the impact by shifting the bat to his other hand. Nonetheless, both players were fined.
Source: Prothom Alo