Cricket and controversies have walked side by side regardless of it being usually tagged as a ‘gentleman’s game’. And with the growing stakes, more pressure, increased workload, and intense media coverage, players are bound to lose their cool.
Not much cricket was played during the year because of the coronavirus pandemic but there still was enough off-field action that kept the cricketers in the limelight.
Here we look at major controversies of 2020:
1) Suresh Raina leaving CSK:
The veteran left-hander has over the years proved to be an indispensable force in Chennai Super Kings’ scheme of things.
Going by his active presence on social space – where he shared innumerable training videos during the lockdown – the top-order batsman had prepared hard and hence it came as a shocker when he decided to pull out of the tournament citing ‘personal reasons’ after having travelled with the team to UAE.
There were various unconfirmed reports of him being unhappy with the room allotted to him and then there was N Srinivasan, the former BCCI president and CSK owner, making his displeasure known during an interview.
2) Marlon Samuels-Ben Stokes spat:
This is a rivalry that goes back to 2015 when the West Indian cricketer had dismissed the English all-rounder during a Test match in Grenada and sent him off with a mock salute. Things spiced up further during the 2016 World T20 Final when Stokes made a comment on Samuels.
During a recent podcast with Test Match Special (TMS), Stokes spoke of the quarantine and the bio-bubble. And during that interview, in reply to a query, he jokingly said it’s something he would not wish on his worst enemy – not even Samuels. .
Samuels reacted to this in an ugly manner where he went to the extent of dragging Stokes’ wife into it. This did not go down well across the fraternity and Samuels faced intense backlash.
3) Shahid Afridi loses cool during Lanka Premier League (LPL):
The former Pakistan cricketer has immense experience of playing the game, but he too found himself in the middle of a controversy after a video of him reacting angrily to a young Afghan pacer during a recent LPL game went viral.
The bowler had indulged in a verbal duel with Mohammad Amir during the game to. Apparently Afridi was irked by this and gave the bowler a piece of his mind later the footage of which went viral on social sphere.
4) Sunil Gavaskar-Virushka saga:
Sunil Gavaskar made a comment on air on Kohli’s poor run of IPL form following the lockdown. During the lockdown, a video of Kohli playing cricket with his wife Anushka Sharma on the terrace had gone viral.
The batting legend referred to the video and linked it with his poor form. This did not go down well with Anushka Sharma – made her feelings known on social media through a statement.
While the Bollywood actress found support in this matter, Gavaskar faced backlash.