There were controversies galore in 2012 – Kevin Pietersen’s troubles with the ECB, spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League, Mohinder Amarnath’s broadside against the BCCI and much, much more. Following is a list of the controversies compiled by Prakash Govindasreenivasan:
1. Kevin Pietersen vs the England Cricket Board (ECB)
England’s star batsman Kevin Pietersen’s tussle with the England Cricket Board (ECB) was nothing short of a drama. It all began when he announced retirement from One-Day Internationals (ODIs) citing workload reasons but wished to continue playing the shortest format of the game. ECB, however, stated he had to retire from T20s as well, in accordance with their rules. He then announced that he would concentrate solely on playing Tests for England but then went back on his statement when he made a rather emotional appearance in a news conference after the Headingly Test against South Africa. He went on record saying the situation was tough and the next Test at Lord’s could even be his last.
He added to the tension when there were allegations that he sent text messages to South African players, with references to the then captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower. Pietersen paid the penalty; there was no place for him any longer in the England side.
The next twist came when he released a video interview on YouTube where he committed himself to England in all formats of the game and spoke of how much it meant to him to wear the England jersey. Yet, ECB kept him out of the side as he failed to provide any clarification on the alleged text messages.
After months of struggle, an agreement was reached between ECB and Pietersen and he was re-integrated into the national side for the successful tour of India in November.
2. BCCI vs Photo Agencies
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) banned the various international agencies from providing photo coverage of the India-England series, claiming that they were entitled to a monopolistic right to all the commercial revenue generated from the matches played in India. In response, the major news agencies — including AFP, Thomson Reuters and AP — suspended all coverage from their end. They continued to boycott coverage as Pakistan set foot on Indian soil for the first time in five years in December.
3. Spot-fixing in IPL
With the craze for one of BCCI’s biggest investments, the Indian Premier League (IPL), slowing fading away, TRPs saw a sudden meteoric rise during the fifth season. Five domestic players were caught in a sting operation conducted by India TV which indicated towards an alleged spot-fixing scandal. The likes of TP Sudhindra, Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra, Abhinav Bali and Amit Yadav were caught on camera trying to finalise their rates for fixing matches in the domestic circuit as well as in the IPL. Sudhindra was slapped with a life ban while Srivastava needs to serve a five-year ban. The rest got away with just a one-year ban.
4. MS Dhoni and the pitch fiasco
Despite a comprehensive win over England in the first Test at Ahmedabad, Indian captain MS Dhoni expressed his unhappiness over the pitch at Motera and demanded for rank turners for the rest of the series. He faced a lot of criticism for his demands and that only heightened after England used the turning wickets at Wankhede to their advantage and spun India out of the game. Though India lost by 10 wickets, Dhoni demanded the same for the third Test at Kolkata, much to the dismay of Eden Gardens curator Prabir Mukherjee. A peeved Mukherjee went on to demand Dhoni’s demand as ‘immoral’ and it took the intervention from Jagmohan Dalmiya to iron out the issues between Mukherjee and Dhoni before the start of the third Test.
5. Ross Taylor’s axe from captaincy
A few days after New Zealand captain Ross Taylor guided his side over a series-levelling win in the second Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) decided to axe him from captaincy in all three formats of the game. NZC came under sharp criticism for the unprofessional handling of Taylor’s axing, which resulted in Taylor opting out of the tour of South Africa. Many New Zealand cricketers like Jesse Ryder and Scott Styris expressed their anger on the matter. Former New Zealand great Martin Crowe resigned from his post of talent scout in protest against this move. In the aftermath of the incident, NZC issued a public apology to Taylor for the way his demotion was handled.
6. MS Dhoni’s complaint to BCCI against Gautam Gambhir
After back-to-back Test defeats against England at home, Indian captain MS Dhoni complained to the BCCI about opener Gautam Gambhir’s attitude and on-field work ethics. Dhoni felt that Gambhir puts his interests above the team’s and has been too selfish and indifferent to team’s situation in the recent past due to lack of form. In the second innings in the Mumbai Test, Gambhir concentrated on staying unbeaten, rather than protecting the tailenders and adding as many runs to the total as possible. This irked the Indian captain and he lodged a complaint to BCCI.
7. Shah Rukh Khan’s tussle with policeman at the Wankhede Stadium
Shah Rukh Khan, owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, resembled the high-handed individuals he is often up against in movies, when he was stopped by a policeman while trying to enter the field after a match between his team and Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium. Clearly miffed, Shah Rukh showered abuses at the policeman and even threatened physical action before being pulled out of the spot. Shah Rukh was slapped a five-year ban from entering the Wankhede.
8. India and the in-fighting
India had a horrendous start to 2012 as they suffered yet another whitewash, this time to Australia in Australia. During the limited-overs CB series Down Under, skipper Dhoni hinted at a rotation policy between Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, with only two of them three playing in each game. Dhoni stated that this strengthened the fielding of the side. It was clear in the days that followed that all was not well between the Indian team and some of his senior players.
9. Mohinder Amarnath’s startling revelations
After Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s tenure as chief selector came to an end, a new selection panel was named with Sandeep Patil at the helm. This move surprised many after Mohinder Amarnath was tipped to succeed Srikkanth. Rumours were rife that an alleged fall out with Dhoni led to him losing out on the post of the chief selector.
A couple of months later, Amarnath came out in the public and admitted that there were ‘certain internal reasons’ that kept the selection committee from replacing Dhoni after India’s abysmal performances in England and Australia. Apparently, BCCI president N Srinivasan overruled the selectors’ decision and retained Dhoni as captain.
10. Luke Pomersbach’s molestation case
If spot-fixing and one of biggest icon’s fracas with security at the Wankhede stadium were not enough, the IPL reached a nadir when Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach, a member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team, was arrested on allegations of molesting a US national and assaulting her male friend in a New Delhi hotel. Pomersbach was soon released on bail and an out-of-court settlement led to the charges being dropped.
(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)