10 Most Controversial Moments in Cricket History

Cricket, popularly known as the “gentleman’s game,” has always captivated spectators with its grace, strategy, and stunning on-field moments. However, there have been times in cricket history that have left a mark on fair play and sportsmanship. 

Let’s look at the 10 most controversial moments in cricket history, some of which will live long in the memory.

1. The Monkey Gate Scandal | 2008

Tensions erupted between Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh during a furious Sydney game. Harbhajan was accused of using an abusive term towards Symonds. It was an intense series for both teams because Harbhajan was first suspended but was later cleared following an ICC investigation.

2. Spot-Fixing by Pakistani Players | 2010

When three Pakistani cricketers, Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, and Mohammad Asif, were accused of spot-fixing in 2010, the cricket world was taken aback. They intentionally bowled no balls during a Test match at the Oval against England, which led to major controversy and sanctions.

3. Sandpaper Gate Scandal | 2018

Australian cricket faced a serious crisis in 2018. During a Test match against South Africa, skipper Steve Smith, vice captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were all discovered using sandpaper to tamper with the ball. This dispute did a lot of damage to Australian cricket’s reputation.

4. The Mankading Incident | 2019

When Jos Buttler was “mankaded” by Ravichandran Ashwin during the 2019 IPL match between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the match turned contentious. Mankading is a contentious issue; some call it unsportsmanlike, while others support Ashwin’s conduct.

Also Read | What is Mankading in Cricket?

5. South Africa vs India DRS Controversy | 2022

There have been discussions regarding the accuracy of DRS in cricket since it was introduced. There have been cases where the results of technology have deviated from choices made on the field.

One instance of DRS discrepancy occurred during India’s Test match against South Africa when one ball looked to hit the wickets when an LBW appeal was made. Nonetheless, the DRS produced a very different conclusion.

6. The Greg Chappell Controversy | 2005

The public altercation between captain Sourav Ganguly and former Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell polarised Indian cricket team supporters. Ganguly’s leadership style and Chappell’s coaching methods clashed, leading to general discontent and Chappell’s contract not being renewed in 2007.

7. Hansie Cronje Match-Fixing | 2000

The unexpected revelation of South African captain Hansie Cronje’s involvement in match-fixing rocked the cricketing world, leading to a life suspension and harsher penalties for similar offences.

Cronje also revealed India’s Mohammad Azharuddin was involved in match-fixing, which resulted in Azharuddin being banned for a lifetime from cricket.

Also Read | 10 Indian Cricketers Banned For Match Fixing

8. Bodyline Series | 1932–1933 

An infamous series between Australia and England in 1932–1933 was called the Bodyline Series. The aggressive, short-pitched bowling tactic led by Douglas Jardine, which targeted the Australian batsmen’s bodies, caused resentment between the two teams.

9. Dennis Lillee’s Aluminium Bat | 1979

When Dennis Lillee used an aluminium bat in a 1979 match against England, everyone was surprised. There were no laws requiring wooden bats at the time. So, Lillee thought he was playing by the rules.

Also Read | What is the Weight of a Cricket Bat?

10. Bob Woolmer’s Death | 2007

Suspicion of foul play was raised following the unfortunate death of Pakistan’s coach, Bob Woolmer, after their sad 2007 Cricket World Cup exit. But the official report put his death down to a heart attack, which struck a dark note among the cricket community.

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