Cricket is one of the most popular sports formats globally. Whether it is watching matches between international teams or indulging in fantasy cricket, fans leave no stone unturned when it comes to proving their undying love for the sport.
Given that cricket is called the “Gentleman’s Game,” one may think there have been no hiccups or controversies in the sport’s history. However, it is not true. Over the years, there have been multiple serious controversies that have shaken the fans.
In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular cricket controversies that have taken place in the world of cricket. Let us get started:
Harbhajan Singh Slapping Sreesanth in the First Edition of the IPL
The Indian Premier League is the world’s most popular domestic cricket tournament. It is followed religiously by millions of people all around the globe. The first edition of the major cricket tournament in 2008 created waves among the masses for many things, including the infamous Sreesanth slapgate incident.
In a match between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan Singh slapped Sreesanth in a fit of rage. Sreesanth got very emotional, and this incident sparked a major controversy. Even though things got sorted out later, this incident is still remembered by fans as one of the most controversial moments in the history of the game.
Danushka Gunathilaka Found Guilty of Assaulting a Woman in Sydney
This year’s T-20 World Cup saw many highs, but the lowest of lows came in the form of a disturbing controversy. Sri Lanka’s Danushka Gunathilaka was found guilty of assaulting and raping a woman from Sydney. It was found out later that he met the woman through a dating app.
What came as more of a shocker was that a local Sydney court refused to grant him bail. Moreover, the entire Sri Lankan team flew back to their country with Gunathilaka. His actions significantly downgraded the name of Sri Lanka all around the globe, due to which the Sri Lankan Cricket Board suspended him from all forms of cricket.
Fans Setting Fire to Stands Due to India’s Poor Performance in 1996 World Cup Semi-Final
The Indian Cricket Team had an amazing run in the 1996 World Cup. They marched their way to the semi-finals against Sri Lanka. Everything was going great for India, with Sachin Tendulkar hitting the ball left, right, and center. However, a major collapse happened, which reduced India to 120-8.
This sudden turnaround upset the Indian fans watching the game at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. To showcase their frustration, they set the stands in the ground on fire, which eventually resulted in the match getting called off. Due to this act of violence, India got disqualified from the World Cup, and Sri Lanka marched into the finals.
Pakistani Players Found Guilty of Spot-Fixing
Another major upset for international cricket came in 2010, when three of the Pakistani cricket team’s most prominent players, namely Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, and Salman Butt, were found guilty of spot-fixing. This shook the die-hard cricket fans, especially those residing in Pakistan.
After a series of investigations, it was found that the three accused players conspired to deliberately bowl no-balls during a test match against England at the Oval. Each of the conspirators was banned for varying amounts of time. This incident, to date, is considered to be the biggest controversy in the history of test cricket.
Match Fixing Scandal in the 2013 IPL Edition
Another major IPL controversy that shocked fans all around the globe was the 2013 match-fixing scandal. Two of Rajasthan Royals’ most prominent players, namely Ankit Chavan and Sreesanth, were allegedly accused of being part of a match-fixing racket. Due to this, both of them received a lifetime ban from cricket.
This controversy marked the end of Sreesanth’s bright career in cricket. Besides creating a catastrophic effect on Sreesanth’s career, this controversy also smeared the brand of the Indian Premier League with distrust from fans.
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symmonds Racism Row
Despite being a brilliant all-rounder, Harbhajan Singh often found himself in scandals and controversies due to his attitude. A major incident happened in Sydney in 2008. Team India and Australia played against each other when Andrew Symmonds and Harbhajan Singh engaged in a verbal fight at the wicket.
Symmonds accused Singh of using a racial slur against him. Due to his use of objectionable words, Harbhajan was banned for three games. However, he was later acquitted at an ICC hearing. Due to this controversy, the series ended in quite a tense manner, i.e., neither team came out well in the particular incident.
Pakistani Players Accused of Ball Tampering
Another blow came for the Pakistani cricket team’s reputation in 2006 at the Oval, when Darrell Hair, a renowned test cricket umpire, precipitated the abandonment of the fourth test match between England and Pakistan. The experienced umpire was convinced that the Pakistani players, who were fielding, were actively tampering with the ball.
Hair awarded England five extra penalty runs since he was sure Pakistani players were involved in foul play. The Pakistani players were enraged and refused to return to the field after the tea break, leading to the umpires declaring that they had forfeited the game and removing the stumps.
Over the years, cricket fans have seen numerous controversies, but the ones that truly shook them have been mentioned above. Despite seeing so much happen, fans still love the sport to bits, which is what makes the sport so great.