Year-Ender 2020

Controversies and cricket have gone hand in hand despite it being traditionally labelled as a ‘gentleman’s game’. And with the rising stakes, more pressure, increased workload, and intense media coverage, players are bound to lose their cool from time to time.

Not much cricket was played during the year gone-by due to the coronavirus pandemic but there still was enough off-field action that kept the cricketers in the limelight for the wrong reasons.

Here we look at the five major controversies that marred the game in 2020.

Suresh Raina Leaving CSK Last-Minute: Popularly referred to as Mr IPL, the veteran left-handed batsman 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 in an interview.

Marlon Samuels-Ben Stokes Spat: This is a rivalry that has its roots dating back to 2015 when the West Indian cricketer had dismissed the English allrounder 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.

Afridi Loses Cool on Young Turk During Lanka Premier League: 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.

IPL Over Team India? The Hitman Drama: Rohit Sharma – who had picked up an injury during IPL 2020 – was not selected in any of India’s squads for the Australia tour which was announced days before the playoffs. To everyone’s surprise, the Mumbai Indians skipper featured in Mumbai Indians final league game. He was then selected in India’s Test squad as BCCI announced a revised squad later on. Rohit played in the playoffs and in the final leading his team to a record-extending title win. This raised eyebrows as fans felt IPL was more important for the cricketer than representing the country.

Rohit then returned home to continue his rehabilitation and then reports emerged that he may end up missing the Australia Tests for not attaining full fitness on time.

Rohit’s potential absence is bound to hurt India with captain Virat Kohli set to return after the first Test in Adelaide.

The Gavaskar-Virushka Saga: Batting legend 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. Gavaskar referred to the video and linked it with his poor form. This did not go down well with Anushka – made her feelings known on social media via a statement. While Anushka found support in this matter, Gavaskar faced heavy backlash.