Cricket is known as the gentleman's game, and the participants are urged to abide by the rules and refrain from engaging in physical arguments. However, players occasionally put their feelings on their sleeves while competing for their nations and initiate some or other controversies. There have been several incidents when players have indulged in controversies that have brought them into trouble. We look for some of the most famous cricket controversies in India.
1. Hardik Pandya – KL Rahul (Koffee With Karan)
In the 6th season of the popular chat show, Koffee with Karan, Hardik Pandya, and KL Rahul appeared together. Following their sexist and racist remarks on the talk program, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul found themselves at the center of fierce controversy. After this episode aired, both Pandya and Rahul were banned from playing international matches for some time. They were also fined for their behavior by the BCCI.
2. Harbhajan Singh – Sreesanth Slap Controversy
During an IPL game in 2008, Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth exchanged words. Sreesanth, a member of the Kings 11 Punjab, and Harbhajan, a member of Mumbai Indians, were present during the incident. Harbhajan slapped the bowler without cause after Sreesanth said, "Hard luck," in a sarcastic way while shaking hands. Sreesanth was not involved in the incident and was crying after it. Later, Harbhajan received a ban from the final IPL game of the season.
3. Virat Kohli Stepping Down From Captaincy
Virat Kohli stepped down from ODI captaincy in December 2021 and from test captaincy in January 2022. This was a shocker for the entire country. However, this soon turned into a huge controversy. It was rumored that Virat Kohli was forced to step down from captaincy by the BCCI. Soon after stepping down from captaincy, Kohli told the reporters that he was informed about this decision of BCCI just 8 hours before the announcement. This sparked rumors that there is some rift between Virat Kohli and some players in the team as well as the BCCI.
4. Yuvraj Singh – Ms Dhoni
Yuvraj Singh has been candid about his anger at the team's management. He expressed his dissatisfaction with the leadership Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri had given him. Yuvraj has earlier stated that MS Dhoni's support from the captain and coach allowed him to continue playing for India. Yuvraj Singh’s father, Yograj Singh, has publicly called out MS Dhoni for ruining Yuvraj’s career. He stated that Dhoni was backed by the management on multiple occasions and that he was the reason Yuvraj was removed from the team.
5. “Monkeygate” Incident
Harbhajan Singh was frequently involved in fights that broke out on the field. The infamous "MonkeyGate" incident occurred at the SCG during a test match between Australia and India. Bhajji and Symonds had been clashing during India's innings, while Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh were at the crease. According to Symonds, Harbhajan called him a "Monkey," a derogatory term for the black population. It was a significant accusation since Harbhajan might have been held accountable for making racial comments. However, Harbhajan was firm that he never used a swear word. Later, Bhajji had to pay a fine for this.
6. IPL Spot-Fixing
S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, and Ajit Chandila were among three RR players who were taken into custody by the Delhi Police. Raj Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan, the team's owners, were also detained in addition to the two franchises, CSK and RR, being suspended for a period of two years. This was the biggest controversy in Indian cricket.
7. Mohammed Azharuddin
Mohammad Azharuddin, one of the most effective captains to lead the Indian team, had a controversial international career. The right-handed batter is accused of paying to fix international games. The former captain's situation got much worse when Cronje accused him of introducing him to the group of bookmakers during a court proceeding. Several other cricket players, including Ajay Jadeja, Ajay Sharma, and Manoj Prabhakar, were also reportedly involved in the practice, it was also revealed.
8. Virat Kohli’s Middle Finger Incident
2012 saw a Test Match between Team India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). A frustrated young Kohli was positioned at the boundary after only scoring 23 runs in the first innings when the local Australian audience began booing at him. Kohli responded by displaying his middle finger to the fans in the crowd. In response to the local media's criticism of Kohli for his "shameful" deed, Kohli's actions were not well received. He was also charged at level two by referee Ranjan Madugalle, who also assessed a fine equal to half of his match fee.
9. Murder Charges On Navjot Singh Sidhu
Navjot Singh Sidhu, a former cricketer for India, was accused of murder in 1988. Recall that in Patiala, Sidhu and his companion Rupinder Singh Sandhu are accused of assaulting Gurnam Singh, age 65, for asking them to move their car from the center of the road. Sidhu argued against the argument that the victim's death could not have been brought about by a single strike. Sidhu had described the incident as "nothing more than an accident." He was widely criticized for it.
10. MS Dhoni Team Selection
Dhoni allegedly made a choice during the 2011–12 Commonwealth Bank ODI series in Australia that surprised a lot of the players. He asserted that because to their slowness on the field, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, and Sachin Tendulkar cannot be included in the same starting XI. He was widely criticized for it and people said that Dhoni wanted to remove these senior players from the team.