Five Highly Infamous Cricket Fights That Are Simply Unforgettable

Cricket is known to be a gentleman’s game. But time and again, there have been several incidents – of ugly fights and notorious altercations  between players – from cricketing lore that have shattered this image of the renowned sport. Here we look at five infamous cricket fights that shook the cricketing world and are simply unforgettable.

Dennis Lille vs Javed Miandad:

In the annals of cricket history, this undignified incident, this particular moment, will forever be etched. Two greats of the game – Javed Miandad and Dennis Lille – almost came to blows in a Test match at Perth in 1981 during Pakistan’s tour to Australia. The incident happened when Australian speedster Lille deliberately came into the way of Miandad who was ambling through for a run. Not one to take things lying down, Miandad shoved Lille aside and coolly walked past him.

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This further irked Lille and even as the umpire tried to calm things down, Lille kicked Miandad on the leg. That was it for the Pakistani legend. He held up his bat in anger and was almost about to break Lille’s skull before he was stopped. Decades have passed since this incident, but it is hard to forget the sheer disgrace this moment brought on the cricket world; and still does.

Glenn McGrath vs Ramnaresh Sarwan:

This is another incident which will be hard to forget. McGrath was known to be cocky and used to always get under the skin of batsmen to unnerve them. During Australia’s tour to West Indies in 2003, this unpleasant incident tarred the series. West Indies were hurtling towards an epic victory in this Test match – the second of the series- and McGrath, wanting to rattle the batsmen, had a go at Ramnaresh Sarwan.

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The West Indian batsman retorted by saying something about McGrath’s wife. The Australian, whose wife was suffering from cancer at that moment, got infuriated and charged down at Sarwan in anger; warning him not to utter a word against his wife. Though things were later cooled down, the episode left a real bad taste.

Virat Kohli vs Gautam Gambhir:

Both Kohli and Gambhir are passionate and aggressive cricketers. Both of them are known to be hot-headed and have been involved in various altercations with players from the opposition teams. But when they both went at each other, it left the cricketing world stunned. It happened in a match between Kolkata and Bangalore in IPL 2013. Batting second, Kohli was helping his team, Bangalore, to chase down Kolkata’s target when he suddenly holed out.

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As he was walking off, Kolkata’s captain Gautam Gambhir said some unsavory words to the departing batsman. A furious Kohli charged towards Gambhir; questioning him angrily for his behaviour. Thankfully, Rajat Bhatia from Kolkata intervened to hold the two back from doing anything ugly. The incident sent shockwaves all across India as it was rare to see teammates of the same country go at each other with such ferocity.

Kieron Pollard vs Mitchell Starc:

Reminiscent of the Dennis Lillie and Javed Miandad incident, this one took place in IPL 2014 in a match between Mumbai and Bangalore. Towards the ending stages of the first innings, Starc, playing for Bangalore, was bowling to Pollard, representing Mumbai. After exchanging a few words with the burly West Indian in the previous delivery, Starc was about to bowl his next when Pollard suddenly pulled out of the wicket; citing some issue.

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Starc did not take kindly to that and threw the ball at Pollard’s leg in anger. An irate Pollard then flung his bat at Starc; absolutely seething in anger. Players from both the teams, and the umpires, then cooled them down and thankfully the situation did not escalate. But it surely left everyone astounded.

Michael Holding vs umpire John Hastie:

Although this fight does not include two players, it surely is one of the most spectacularly infamous incidents in cricket history. West Indies had toured New Zealand in 1980 and were playing a Test – the second of the series – in Christchurch. The first Test was mired with umpiring howlers and in this one too the West Indies bowlers were getting frustrated at not getting any decision their way in New Zealand’s first innings. West Indian great Micheal Holding was bowling with venom and suddenly produced an absolute peach to batsman John Parker.

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The ball went through to the keeper and Holding believed that the ball had nicked the batsman’s gloves clearly. However, umpire John Hastie turned the appeal down. This incensed Holding and charging over at the striker’s end, he broke down the stumps in anger with his feet. The fast bowler did not want to bowl again and only his captain could manage to calm him down. There was a lot of bad-blood in this Test which was marked by a few other squabbles as well. The photograph that was clicked of the scene, of Michael Holding shattering the stumps down with his feet, is still considered as one of the most sensational ones in cricket history. It took the cricket world by storm.

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A hardcore cricket fanatic, I am a journalism graduate and work as the Editor at a book packaging house in Kolkata. I write for a national sports magazine, Cricket Today, and a couple of other websites along with regular blogs on varied issues.