With Michael Vaughan's tweet on VVS Laxman using Vaseline on his bat to manipulate the Hot-Spot technology in the Decision Review System, the focus has once again shifted to how high-voltage cricket instigates on-field controversies. We take a look at some of the on-field controversies involving the Indian cricket team.
On the second day of the Trent Bridge Test, VVS Laxman was on 27, in the total 48 for 1, when the last delivery of James Anderson's ninth over passed his bat. The bowler and the rest of England players promptly went up in appeal for a catch behind the stumps and began gathering around the batsman. As umpire Asad Rauf ruled in Laxman's favour, England skipper Andrew Strauss went for DRS but that too didn't favour the home side. Kevin Pietersen and Laxman were seen getting into a bit of an argument. Later, Michael Vaughan tweeted: "Has Vaseline on the outside edge saved the day for Laxman?".
If it was Vaseline this time, it was jellybeans in 2007 at Trent Bridge. During the second Test in 2007, England players were throwing jelly beans on the pitch while Zaheer Khan was batting. The pacer reacted angrily and went to Kevin Pietersen to sort out the issue. He also complained about it to the umpires. Interesting, Michael Vaughan was England's captain. He apologised to Zaheer after India beat them by 9 wickets.
During the third ODI at Kanpur in 2007, another episode in Indo-Pakistan rivalry was added when Indian opener Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi got indulged in a verbal war. Gambhir was scoring at a good rate when Afridi said some undesirable words. This fired up Gambhir and he retaliated with equal vengeance.
After failing to conquer the 'Final Frontier' in 2000-01, Australia came back under in 2004-05. They won the first Test at Bangalore that was followed by a washed out match in Chennai. The two teams reached Nagpur and to the horror of hitherto skipper; it was a green track, much like an Australian pitch. He tried to persuade the curator and the VCA President Shashank Manohar to shave off the grass but they didn't budge. Of course, the guests were feeling at home.
Just a day before, Ganguly announced that he was injured and vice-captain Rahul Dravid had to lead the side. The Australians relished the conditions and went on to win the match and consequently the series.
Though it was in the Sydney Test in 2007-08 that the 'monkey-gate affair' came to the fore, it all started in Mumbai when Australia toured India for an ODI series. In the Mumbai ODI, was allegedly upset with Harbhajan Singh for calling him 'Monkey'.
It was only in his den that Symonds took him on for this. At Sydney, while batting alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan had some exchange of words with Symonds who along with his teammates complained to the on-field umpires and later to the match referee. Symonds accused Bhajji of racially abusing him. Match referee Mike Proctor even slapped the Indian spinner with a three-match ban. The Indian team with the BCCI's backing protested. The series was on the verge of being called off when a special tribunal cleared Bhajji of all racism charges but fined him for using abusive language.
Apart from the Symonds-Bhajji spat, the umpires too had their share out in the sun in the (in)famous Test. Steve Bucknor, whom Ganguly had given a zero rating in his report during the 2003-04 series, continued to fiddle with India's chances and along with Mark Benson gave more than ten wrong decisions against India, which swung the result in Australia's favour. The relations between the two teams touched rock bottom during the series. India won the next Test at Perth and many believed if the umpires had not erred in Sydney, would have won the series.
South African skipper Hansie Cronje sparked the controversy by wearing an earpiece to take instructions from coach Bob Woolmer in the dressing room during the first match of the tournament against India at Hove.
Last time when the Indian sub-continent hosted the World Cup, it did not live up to the expectations. A bomb blast in Colombo, Sri Lanka before the start of the tournament made Australia and West Indies reluctant. Their decision to forfeit their group matches was criticised by the organisers. The World Cup opening ceremony in Calcutta (now Kolkata) was promised to be a gala event but it flopped. The much-hyped laser show malfunctioned. Another crisis struck the Eden Gardens when Indian fans disrupted the semi-final against Sri Lanka as defeat was looming over the home team.
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