The end of the year is a festive time for everyone, but more so for the Indian and Australian cricket fans who get to witness the two sides compete in a high-stake bi-lateral series. 'High-stake' is a mild way of putting it though as things often go out of hand during the matches between the two sides. Here are a few examples of the same.
1. I'll start with the one which seems borderline sweet considering how far the two teams can go. In 2018, Tim Paine decided to sledge the Indian batsmen from behind the stumps, and in an attempt to irk Rishabh Pant, he said:
Tell you what big MS is back in the One-Day squad. Should get this bloke down to Hurricanes. They need a batter. Fancy that extend you Aussie holiday, beautiful town Hobart too...get him a waterfront apartment. Have him over for dinner.
That was Paine's conversation with Aaron Finch who was positioned on the forward short-leg. The Australian didn't stop at that, though; and added:
Do you babysit? I can take my wife to the movies while you watch the kids.
Anyway, Pant remained silent at that time but soon the roles switched, and it was the Indian youngster's chance to keep the wickets. Making full use of the opportunity, he responded to Paine's comments by saying:
We have got a special guest her, eh Mankey. Have you heard the word temporary captain... ever. Eh Monk?
And then told Jadeja:
You don't need anything to get him out boy. Come on lad. He loves to talk, that's the only thing he can do. Only talking talking.
On Friday Paine unsettled Pant when he said "Do you babysit? I can take my wife to the movies while you watch the kids." Pant couldn't wait to return the favour Saturday when Paine came to bat. "We have got a special guest here. Have you heard the word temporary captain ever."— Noel Francis (@nanthonyfrancis) December 29, 2018
2. On to more serious stuff, we look at this incident from 2008. No, it's not the one you think it is, we'll get to that later. This one is from Australia's tour of India, when the visitors kept sledging Gautam Gambhir until he gave in and elbowed Shane Watson at Feroz Shah Kotla.
This was exactly what they wanted. An in-form batsman getting angry and doing something stupid, leading to his ban.
That's true, Gambhir was handed a one-match ban, which he later admitted happened because he admitted to the act, on Gary Kirsten's advice.
3. Back in 2014, Virat Kohli sent Rohit Sharma to bowl against the Aussies in Adelaide. The idea was to surprise them with unexpected bowling. Later, Rohit Sharma bowled a delivery, with which he thought he had dismissed Steve Smith only to be disappointed.
Not the one to let this go, Steve gestured towards Sharma, and not the one to let that go, Virat Kohli jumped and told Smith to 'stay within his limits'.
The two got into a fight and had to be separated.
4. Coming to the Sydney Test, riding high on emotions, Ricky Ponting declared Sourav Ganguly out in the second innings, even as umpires pondered over the decision.
From commentators, to media and the players, this gesture wasn't appreciated by anyone on the Indian side. In fact, captain Anil Kumble went on record and said that only one side respected the spirit of the game.
5. This, obviously, was after the infamous monkeygate incident, in which Andrew Symonds accused Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing him. Harbhajan categorically denied the charges and team India apparently said that if he was punished with a ban, they'll boycott the tour.
Harbhajan was set to be banned for 3 matches, but the authorities did not go through with it and hence the series continued.
However, it wasn't something that the media could ever get over it as remains one of the most controversial matches in the history of cricket.
6. In 2014, Virat Kohli was in touch of form even as India struggled against the hosts. It was in this series that MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket and Kohli became a serious contender for the captain's role. Obviously, a lot was at stake and after hitting a century in the 3rd Test, Kohli allegedly blew a kiss at Mitchell Johnson.
He was later reported as saying:
I respect a few of them but if someone doesn't respect me I've got no reason to respect them.
7. Rahul Dravid was usually not someone who'd get involved in fights but when someone comes really close and starts screaming, you are not left with many options. In 2001, Michael Slater took a catch that was supposed to dismiss Dravid. Except, it didn't and that made him really angry.
Slater was confident that the catch was legit, but the third umpire ruled Dravid not out basis the ball touching the ground first. Following this, Slater said some words to Dravid and the latter could also been seen responding.
India lost that match by 10 wickets but Dravid remembered this. He played the Kolkata Test later, even though he was sick, and the rest is history.
8. In 2004, Mohammad Kaif was on the crease during the 4th Test in Mumbai, when Adam Gilchrist caught him while keeping wickets. However, the umpire ruled Kaif not-out. Not happy with the decision as he thought the ball had touched Kaif's gloves, Gilchrist was heard telling the Indian batsman:
That was off your glove. The whole world is watching, champ.
India went on to win the match.