Gentleman’s game has not always been gentle. Even though we see players joking around enjoying themselves on the cricket field all the time, there have been few instances where tempers had flared and players have behaved out of their character or brought out their real ones so to speak. With that said, let’s take a look at ten such instances where cricketers had lost it altogether. So Check Top 10 Biggest Fights In Cricket.
The biggest one of them all must go to Shane Warne and Marlon Samuels fracas. It is apt that Shane Warne features in this one as he was ‘The Bad boy’ in his era. But this incident happened way past his international playing career, in a BBL game between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades. During Stars innings, Marlon Samuels was having a bowl from Renegades with David Hussey on strike. On one of the deliveries, while Hussey was attempting a second run, Samuels jokingly tried to grab Hussey’s shirt while knowing quite literally there wasn’t a second run there. But this didn’t go well with the Stars skipper. In the second innings, when Samuels was at the crease, Warne started hurling a barrage of abuses at Samuels, some of which were heard on the player mic that he was wearing.
Things got out of hand when in the next over, after fielding the ball, Warne threw it straight at Samuels, albeit slowly, but deliberately. Samuels had enough of this by now as he threw his bat wildly in the air. Umpires gathered together to calm things down which took quite a lot of time off the game. In the very next over, Warne brought on Lasith Malinga from the other end, and he bowled a ripping bouncer first up which took the top edge of the bat and smashed into the grill of Samuel’s helmet. Samuels immediately retired hurt and went back into the sheds as there was blood dripping all over his mouth. This was one of the ugliest fights to be witnessed on the cricket field.
This involves the hot-headed Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee and Pakistani legend Javed Miandad. As the incident goes, Miandad was taking a single after playing the ball down to the fine leg, but Lillee deliberately got in the way of the batter and almost shoulder-barged him. Miandad was riled up by this and he fulminated against Lillee. A few seconds later, Lillee sheepishly kicked him from the back, pushing Miandad’s tempers to their limits and he retaliated by attempting to hit Lillee with his bat. Fortunately, the umpire was in the way and some common sense prevailed. Aussie captain Greg Chappell defended Lillee by saying he was provoked by Miandad first. But later, Lillee was fined 2000 Australian dollars for his misconduct.
Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth were two of the excitable characters in the Indian team. But somehow, for actual reasons still quite unknown, a fight broke out between the two. This incident happened during an IPL game between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab in which the Kings triumphed. It was claimed that after the match, Sreesanth went to Harbhajan and told him ‘Well played’ in a teasing manner, to which Harbhajan got offended and it infuriated him. Sreesanth was later seen crying on TV and it was revealed that Harbhajan had slapped him across the face for the comments he made. Both players refused to make any comments regarding the ugly spat. Harbhajan was banned for the remainder of that IPL.
As mentioned earlier Harbhajan Singh was always in the mix when it came to altercations on the field. The ‘MonkeyGate’ incident as it is called, happened during a test match between India and Australia at the SCG. During India’s innings when Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh were on the crease, both Bhajji and Symonds were seen having a go at each other. Symonds alleged that Harbhajan had called him a ‘Monkey’ which is a racial slur on the black community.
It was a big allegation to make because Harbhajan could’ve been charged with racial vilifications. But Harbhajan was adamant that he didn’t swear with any such word, instead, he said ‘maaki’ which translates to your mother in his mother tongue. Later after the game, the charges on Harbhajan kept getting graded down with the threat of the Indians packing up and going home mid-tour. Many Aussies would say that Bhajji got away easy and this incident was the beginning of the end for Symonds. It was a significant moment in all of their careers.
The Bad boys of cricket, Australians are never far off from having a word with the opponent. But surprisingly enough, when others give it back to them, they don’t seem to take it too well. This incident involving Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan was a classic example of that. In 2003, on day four of the test match at the Antigua Recreation Ground, West Indies had the game in control and Glenn McGrath started hurling abuses at the batsman like he always does with the shake of the head.
McGrath sledded Sarwan something about Sarwan’s relationship with Brian Lara, the Windies captain. It didn’t sit well with Sarwan and he gave it back on the same topic but included McGrath’s wife in the matter. This seemed to have ruffled a raw nerve of McGrath, whom, at the end of the over, came charging towards Sarwan and said, “If you ever f**cking mention my wife again. I will rip your f**cking throat out.” Later it was revealed that McGrath’s wife was suffering from cancer.
You might be shocked to see Inzamam-ul-Haq on this list as you should. Because he was so gentle in his mannerisms and softly spoken and as a man of few words. They called him a ‘gentle giant’ for a reason. But he too was once involved in an ugly spat with, not a player, but a fan. This incident happened in 1997 during the 2nd ODI of the series at Toronto Cricket when an Indian fan kept peppering him with the word ‘aloo’ and telling him to stand up straight as he was a little bent because of his body weight. As a professional, Inzi let go of it for a while, but it didn’t help the fact that the Indian fan had a megaphone attached to him. Later, to everyone’s astonishment, Inzi proceeded to hit the fan with his bat but was stopped by the security personnel. It would’ve been a black spot on Inzi’s career if he had injured the fan.
‘Mental disintegration’ is the term that the Aussies use for sledding oppositions to disrupt their concentration. This has become their DNA in cricket. In the 2018 Australia tour of South Africa, David Warner kept sledding Quinton de Kock left-right, and center, from his appearance to his height. Quinny took it all in for the most part, but he later gave it back to Warner but directed it towards his wife and her previous partner. Warner was boiling it de Kock’s comments as they kept aggressively arguing up the stairs to the dressing room. Later that session, the crowd got into the act as well and started abusing Warner and his wife, which made the matter a whole lot worse.
Shakib Al Hasan has proved to be some sort of a madcap in recent years. Recently during a domestic DPL match between Mohammedan Sporting Club and Abahani Limited, he was seen having furious altercations with the umpire when few of his appeals were turned down. When the umpires decided to bring the covers on following a slight drizzle with a ball remaining in the sixth over, Shakib was having none of it as he ran towards the umpire waving his hands all over the place and kicked the stumps in frustration. Shakib’s wife claimed that the umpires were biased against her husband and many of the decisions were questionable. It was an ill-favored act from the veteran on the field and was later banned from playing any further cricket until the issue was sorted out.
Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir once had a go at each other during an IPL game between RCB and KKR in 2013. Virat Kohli was batting well and had smashed a couple of sixes in the ninth over. In the tenth over, he came down the track and slashed a delivery straight into the hands of sweeper cover. Dejected with himself, Kohli was trudging back off the field, when he saw Gautam Gambhir celebrating wildly for his dismissal and also heard something which he didn’t like. He instantly started walking towards Gambhir and Gautam too repeated the same like two bulls at the start of the fight, just as when, the senior Pro, Rajat Bhatia got in the way and separated the two. Both the players refused to reveal the specifics of the event later.
Mitchell Starc was quite a hothead during the early part of his career. He was involved in an awful fight with Kieron Pollard in a game between MI and RCB in 2014. In a tense clash, during the seventeenth over, Starc bowled a bouncer to Pollard which he missed, and then went on to sled him to unsettle the batter. In the very next ball, as Starc was the third quarter of the way in his run-up, Pollard deliberately pulled out from facing the delivery and started walking towards square leg. But, frustrated Starc continued his run-up and bowled the delivery and directed it towards Pollard.
Enraged by this act, Pollard lifted his bat in an attempt to throw it towards Starc, but at the very last fraction of a second stopped himself but he couldn’t control the bat in hand and it fell far wide of anyone. Had he not for his senses for that moment, who knows what level of ugly shape this incident would’ve taken. Both the players were fined half their match fees for this unruly behavior.