Some games are played wildly. Players injure the players of opposite teams intentionally, they bite each other on the field. Cricket is the gentleman’s game. It is not played like other games, Players play cricket in the good spirit. At the most, there is a verbal fight on the cricket field. In international cricket, things have gone out of control but it has never reached the level of injuring players of opposite team intentionally or biting each other. It has been verbal spat mostly or some heated moments of throwing the ball in anger (not with the intention of hurting the player). In IPL as well, there has been heated discussions on the field but things have never gone out of control. Let me throw some light on the fights in IPL.
Pollard and Starc
In a match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2014, Pollard was batting and Starc was given the ball. Starc started with a bouncer. Pollard missed that bouncer completely and Starc said few words to him. Pollard gestured him to go back and ball again. Starc continued with his sledging while going back towards his run up. Next ball, Starc started his run-up. The moment he was going to bowl that delivery, Pollard left his crease and moved away. It made Starc furious and he threw the ball towards Pollard in anger. Ball didn’t hit Pollard but it was thrown with that intention. In reply, Pollard threw his bat towards Starc but it was dropped from his hand while he was doing that.
In the end, no one was hurt but it shouldn’t have happened. This incident was the wildest on-field incident in the history of IPL.
Kohli and Gambhir
In 2013, it was a match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. Royal Challengers Bangalore was taking the charge of the match with Virat Kohli leading from the front. And Balaji took the wicket of Virat Kohli at the crucial moment. While Virat was walking back Gambhir crossed him saying a word or two. He went towards the bowler to celebrate but those couple of words were enough to make Kohli furious. And in anger, he charged towards Gambhir. If umpire and Rajat Bhatia haven’t had interrupted then the situation would have gone out of the hands. It raised a lot of questions over the tournament. It gave the impression that tournament is creating differences among the players.
Pollard and Bravo
Pollard and Bravo are the best friends off the field but when they meet each other on the field, they are fierce competitors. When Pollard and Bravo play against each other, they tease each other a lot. And when they do that, it looks like they are fighting with each other. In IPL, it has happened often that Pollard and Bravo have teased each other a lot.
Once CSK was in a do or die situation and Pollard texted Bravo to take the flight back and go home. Then CSK met MI in playoffs and Bravo took the wicket of Pollard and after doing that, Bravo gestured him to take the flight back and go home. In 2016, MI was playing against GL, in that match when Bravo came on to bowl against Pollard he went towards him. They were watching in each other’s eyes and then Pollard raised a bat to hit Bravo. Though it was a fun moment, it looked intense. They have shared that kind of banter over the years. There is nothing serious between them but it looks intense in the big games.
Dravid and Johnson
Dravid is known for his calm and composed personality. He has hardly fought with any player in his international career but in IPL, he unleashed his aggressive side. In the sixth season of IPL, Johnson (playing for Mumbai Indians) started sledging him. Dravid replied him words and with two back to back boundaries. It is very unlike Rahul Dravid. In international career, he replied sledging with his performance with the bat but in IPL, he replied the sledging with the bat as well as with the words. He was asked about it later and Dravid replied, “I kept calm in international cricket because I had to focus on India’s victory but in IPL, I was not holding myself back.” This incident grabbed the eyeballs because of Dravid’s reply.
Rayudu and Harbhajan
Rayudu and Harbhajan have played in one team for a long time but in 2016, something happened between them which again raised the question over the harmony among the Indian players due to IPL. In 2016, Harbhajan was bowling and one of the deliveries was heading towards the boundary. Rayudu was at the boundary and he tried hard to save the boundary but he was not able to do that. Even after a great effort, Harbhajan yelled at him. Obviously, Rayudu didn’t like it, he charged towards Harbhajan and both had heated argument on the field. At last, Harbhajan pacified Rayudu. It happened in the heat of the moment but it gave critics a chance to say that IPL is creating conflict between the Indian players.
There have been other fights as well but in first ten years of IPL, above mentioned incidents have been the highlight of the tournament. Players have had heated argument even with the umpires but it has been limited up to arguments only. Normally, bowlers sledge the batsmen to provoke them so that they commit the mistake and give their wicket away. The heated argument takes place in the heat of the moment. And the wild side of the tournament stays up to that argument. It never goes beyond that. The credit for that goes to rules of cricket. The rules are so strict that players never cross their limits. Players face harsh punishments even for the sledging then imagine what they will go through if they go beyond that.
Cricket is gentleman’s game for a reason and IPL is played keeping that reason in mind. Yes, things get heated up sometimes but that doesn’t define the tournament.