5 Controversies that rocked Indian cricket

These controversies, in a way, marred the image of the Indian cricket.

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Andrew Symonds of Australia watches Harbhajan Singh
Andrew Symonds of Australia watches Harbhajan Singh. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Indian cricket has come a long way ever since it gained its Test status back in 1932. Over the years, the cricket-tragic nation has had a plethora of memorable moments in its storied history. From winning the Test series in the West Indies and England in 1971 to Sunil Gavaskar establishing himself as the best Test opener in the world.

From Kapil’s Devils doing the unthinkable in the summer of 1983 by beating world champions West Indies in the World Cup final to the emergence of the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, who would go on to scale many a height both on an individual basis and also as a team, it is fair to say that India is the current superpower- both on and off the field.

But, that is not to say that it has been smooth sailing. Over the years, there have been a plethora of controversies that have threatened to derail Indian cricket. With COVID-19 causing a temporary break to the proceedings, we at CricTracker thought that why not delve into the pages of history, and once again re-live the most tumultuous moments that Indian cricket has faced over the years?

Here’s a look at five controversies that rocked Indian cricket

5. Greg Chappell vs Sourav Ganguly [2005-2007]

Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly
Greg Chappell and Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Before delving into the details of what happened, let us rewind the clock back to 2003. India was slated to tour Down Under for a four-match Test series, followed by a tri-nation tournament. And, in a bid to shrug off his past horrors against the Aussies, captain Sourav Ganguly decided to spend some time with Greg Chappell ahead of the tour. Chappell’s advice proved to be a boon for the then Indian captain as he shellacked the Aussies to the tune of 144 at the Gabba.

Two years later, with John Wright’s tenure nearing its end, the Indian team was on a lookout for a new coach. There were several options in the form of Dave Whatmore, Tom Moody, Mohinder Amarnath. But, out of the blue, came a suggestion of Greg Chappell, from none other than Sourav Ganguly. Ganguly was even cautioned by former cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Greg’s own brother Ian Chappell about the former’s lack of man-management skills.

But, such was the influence of the Australian on Ganguly that the Indian captain did not pay heed to any of those suggestions. As a result, Chappell was appointed India’s head coach and his first assignment was a tri-nation series in Sri Lanka. Ganguly wasn’t a part of that tour as he was still serving his six-match ban for slow overrate, and he only joined the team on the following tour of Zimbabwe.

At the same time, Ganguly’s form in Test cricket was a matter of concern. He hadn’t scored a Test hundred for over two years. And this prompted Chappell to ask the Indian captain to drop himself from the first Test, after the latter had consulted him on whether to play Yuvraj Singh or Mohammad Kaif in the playing XI. Chappell replied: ‘Play them both’.

A befuddled Ganguly proceeded to threaten to withdraw from the tour but was ultimately coaxed by Dravid and Chappell to stay on. Ganguly scored a hundred in the first Test, following which he revealed in the media that Chappell had suggested him to step-down. It all came to a head when Chappell’s e-mail to the BCCI was leaked in the media where the Australian had referred to Ganguly as ‘physically and mentally’ unfit to lead the team, accusing him of faking injuries.

He further stated that Ganguly had lost the confidence of his team-mates and his presence would have an adverse effect on India’s chances in the 2007 World Cup. Following the leaking of Chappell’s email and Ganguly’s subsequent snub- both as captain as well as a player- a huge furor ensued with fans all over the country taking to streets to protest against the Australian.

“Chappell destroyed Indian cricket to such an extent that it required at least 3 years to again get back on track. The worst part was that some, players in that team, who sucked up to the coach would supply selective misinformation creating bigger rift,” Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying by Cricket Next then.

Matters escalated when Chappell flipped a bird to the Kolkata fans during an Indo-South Africa ODI in late 2005. Ganguly would continue to get sidelined for almost a year before he finally earned his way back into the set-up courtesy consistent scores in domestic cricket.

He was eventually picked for the South African tour in the winter of 2006 where he emerged as the leading run-scorer in the three-match rubber. He subsequently regained his place in the ODI side in 2007 and was picked for the World Cup in the Caribbean where the Men in Blue crashed out in first round, to bring down curtains on Chappell’s contrversial stint as India’s head coach.

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