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 start fighting with one another. Everyone wants to win at any cost, and the players occasionally cross the line in the process. We look for some of the most explosive incidents in cricket history where two players nearly engaged in a brawl in front of the entire world.
1. Gautam Gambhir – Shahid Afridi
In the 2007 One-Day International in Guwahati between India and Pakistan, Gambhir struck Afridi near the mid-on boundary. There was a brief exchange of harsh words after this boundary. When taking a single run on the next ball, the two hot-headed players, who were at odds with one another once more, exchanged some explicit Hindi slang. Gambhir became upset when Afridi stepped in between them as Gambhir reached for the crease.
2. Gautam Gambhir – Virat Kohli
During one of the IPL games between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gambhir and Kohli, former colleagues for Delhi and India, engaged in a violent confrontation. When hitting the ball up in the air, Kohli got out since the ball only made it to deep extra-cover. Gambhir abused Kohli when he was celebrating, which angered the latter. After this, they had an ugly spat, and the KKR teammates, along with the umpires, had to separate them.
3. Ishant Sharma – Kamran Akmal
The biggest rivalry in cricket is between India and Pakistan, and when the two countries face off, it is not just a game of cricket. In 2012, during a t20 match in Bengaluru, Ishant Sharma and Kamran Akmal had a verbal spat. After reaching their breaking point, Ishant Sharma and Kamran Akmal nearly knocked each other out in the middle of the 22 yards. As things may have gone any worse, the two umpires and the other players attempted to get the two players away from one another to calm the situation down.
4. Harbhajan Singh – Andrew Symonds
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 fine for this.
5. Harbhajan Singh – Shoaib Akhtar
In the 2010 Asia Cup league game between India and Pakistan, Harbhajan Singh had come down to face the second last over of the match. Shoaib Akhtar had bowled a couple of high bouncers to Bhajji, and this led to a verbal brawl between them. The players had a very unpleasant exchange, and the umpires had to come between them. Later on, Akhtar came to the hotel room of Harbhajan Singh to beat him up.
6. Fareed Ahmed – Asif Ali
The spat between Fareed Ahmed and Asif Ali is probably the ugliest fight in cricket history. It happened in the 2022 Asia Cup between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The event occurred after Asif Ali was caught for 16 off eight balls in the penultimate over. He received a bitter send-off and some harsh words from Ahmad as he left the field, to which Asif was infuriated and pushed Ahmed. This startled everyone, including the commentators. Additionally, in an apparent effort to foil the bowler, he displayed his bat at him. It was one of the most physical fights between any cricketer.
7. Harbhajan Singh – Sreesanth
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.
8. Yuvraj Singh – Andrew Flintoff
In the 2007 t20 world cup, Yuvraj Singh and Andrew Flintoff had a verbal exchange during the India-England match. Yuvraj Singh had hit two back-to-back boundaries off Flintoff, to which the latter said a few harsh words to Yuvraj. It resulted in verbal abuse between them. This argument resulted in a record-breaking over in the history of cricket. Post the fight, Yuvraj Singh, in his aggression, hit Stuart Broad with 6 sixes in six balls in the penultimate over, thus becoming the first ever batsman to do so in t20 cricket.
9. Virat Kohli – Mitchell Johnson
In a match between India and Australia, Virat Kohli successfully protected the ball when Mitchell Johnson threw it towards his leg to start the conflict. Virat became enraged as a result of this, and after hitting the bowler for a four, they engaged in an argument verbally. Johnson joined the verbal altercation and was hammered all over the park as Virat finished his well-deserved century.
10. Suresh Raina – Ravindra Jadeja
It happened in a match between India and West Indies. When Jadeja was bowling, the batsman hit the ball in the air and went straight toward Raina. However, Raina dropped the easy catch, and this angered Jadeja a lot. After this, Jadeja was visibly upset, and the two players had a verbal exchange. The Indian team members, including Dhoni, had to sort things out between them.