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8 India-Pakistan ODI controversies


India_Pakistan_controversies_cricketThe late Richie Benaud, doyen of cricket commentators, once called cricket the most controversial game of them all. Over the years there have been a number of controversial incidents in this great game, ranging from match-fixing, spot fixing, verbal abuse, disrespect to players and umpires and even the odd physical altercation.

When arch-rivals India and Pakistan step onto the cricket field, even sane rational men temporarily lose their cool in the heat of the moment as the pressure on them to win the match for their country can be unbearable. The prospect of losing has caused the odd situation which threatens to spiral out of control.

Here are 8 controversial incidents in ODIs between the two teams.

3rd ODI, Zafar Ali Stadium, Sahiwal, 03 November 1978,

Controversy: Bishen Singh Bedi conceding the match in protest.

Pakistan batted first and scored 205/7 off their 40 overs. India gave a spirited reply and were 183/2 off 37 overs. Sarfraz Nawaz realised that India were favorites to win the match and bowled a bouncer well out of the reach of the batsman. Sarfraz repeated this 3 times in the next 3 deliveries and each time the umpire failed to call a wide.

Those were the days when the rule of a bouncer being called a wide if it went over the batsman’s shoulder had not yet been implemented in ODIs. Bedi realised Pakistan’s ploy to win the match, called his batsmen in and conceded the match to Pakistan. This created bad blood between the two teams and was the first occasion of a match being conceded in ODIs.

3rd ODI, National Stadium, Karachi, 20th December 1989

Controversy: Crowd invasion when India were on top.

The conditions in this ODI were heavily skewed in favour of the seamers. India won the toss and elected to field. Manoj Prabhakar was making the ball talk and the Pakistan top order had no clue on how to counter him and were reduced to 28/3 in 14.3 overs. The partisan crowd could not stomach India being on top. The crowd started pelting stones at the Indian outfielders and the match was stopped. Local hero Javed Miandad tried to pacify the crowd but to no avail. The match had to be abandoned even though India had the upper hand.

6th Match, Wills Trophy, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, 23rd October 1991

Controversy: Play continuing even in bad light.

Pakistan batted first and scored 257/7 off their 50 overs. India began well but lost their way in the middle overs. Sachin Tendulkar came to India’s rescue and his partnership with Prabhakar got India back into the contest. However, these were the days when floodlights had yet to be installed in Sharjah and the light was so bad that it was impossible for the batsmen to sight the ball in the middle. Even on the television screens, spectators struggled to sight the ball.

The umpires did not offer the light to the batsmen and India came close to the target in spite of their batsmen not being able to see the ball. This was the beginning of India’s discontent with the conditions at Sharjah and led to them boycotting the venue for several years.

World Cup, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, 04 March 1992

Controversy: Miandad mimicking Kiran More.

Sunil Gavaskar had written in his book ‘One Day Wonders’ about how Javed Miandad loved to try and distract batsmen when Miandad was fielding but disliked being spoken to when he himself was batting. In this match Pakistan were chasing India’s total and the match was in the balance.

Kiran More was appealing vociferously and encouraging the fielders and the bowlers. Miandad could take it no more. When Tendulkar was running in to bowl, Miandad moved out of his stance and muttered something to More and complained to the umpire that More was distracting him. When a throw from a fielder came in Miandad scampered back to his crease and mimicked More by jumping up and down like a frog.

World Cup Quarter Final, Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, 09 March 1996

Controversy: Aamir Sohail taunting Venkatesh Prasad.

Pakistan were chasing India’s daunting 287/8 and were in a good position in the chase. Sohail had just struck Prasad for a four and mocked him by pointing his bat to the boundary, implying that he would hit him again for a four. Prasad went back to his mark and off the next delivery clean bowled Sohail. He then gestured to Sohail to get on his bike and go back to the pavilion. India went on to win the match and Sohail’s rash shot led to Pakistan squandering a good position.

2nd ODI, Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, Toronto, 14th September, 1997

Controversy: Inzamam’s scuffle with a spectator.

Pakistan were having a tough time in the field and Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is normally the mildest of men, was being taunted by an annoying spectator. He kept calling Inzamam a fat potato. Finally, Inzamam could take the provocation no more and asked the substitute fielder to wait outside the ropes with a bat. The next time the spectator taunted him, Inzamam rushed towards him with the bat and would have done him grievous harm if he was not restrained by the Canadian police and ushered back onto the field. This shows that the emotions of even the coolest of men can snap under grave provocation and in the cauldron of an India-Pakistan game.

3rd ODI, Green Park, Kanpur, 11th November 2007

Controversy: Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi colliding in the field.

Gambhir had just hit Afridi for a four and taken a single off the very next ball. While going for the run he collided with Afridi and there was a heated verbal exchange. A collision on a cricket field is viewed by the cricketing authorities with utmost seriousness. Even though both Gambhir and Afridi pleaded not guilty to the charges, they were found guilty on two counts.

1)    Conduct unbecoming to their status which could bring them or the game of cricket into disrepute.
2)    Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact between players in the course of play.

Gambhir and Afridi were fined 65% and 95% of their match fees respectively.

Asia Cup, League match, Rangiri International Stadium, Dambulla, 19th June 2010,

Controversy: Gautam Gambhir and Kamran Akmal charging towards each other and having to be restrained by their teammates.

India were doing well in their chase of Pakistan’s 267. Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were putting on a good partnership. Kamran Akmal was appealing very loudly and Gambhir lost his cool. Both of them charged towards each other and had to be restrained by their teammates. It was a good thing that India’s ‘Captain Cool’, Dhoni, was at the crease to act quickly and usher Gambhir away from Akmal.


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