Sitting on a tinderbox
India-Australia matches are not about just cricket anymore. Players on both sides have engaged in some nasty verbal and psychological battles over the years and the bad blood now regularly spills outside the field. Here Ajit Vijaykumar takes a look at four such unsavoury incidents, involving current players, that are likely to stay in the back of the minds of both teams when they clash during the five-match ODI series which begins in Chennai today.
The Test series between the sides earlier in the year was one of the most intense battles in recent times. However, the result was overshadowed by a dramatic deterioration of relations between the sides. The most significant incident was Steve Smith’s ‘brain fade’ moment when he looked up to the dressing room during the Bangalore Test after being given out lbw, seeking the help of the dressing room on taking a review. India protested
vehemently and Kohli later accused the Aussies of systematically undermining the Decision Review System.
The Test series earlier this year saw another major flashpoint when Smith lost his cool in the dressing room and was caught on camera mouthing ‘cheat’ after Murali Vijay claimed a catch that was later deemed not out. After the series finished, Smith admitted he had lost control of his emotions and even apologised for it. However, Kohli declared
he wouldn’t consider Australian players as his ‘friends’ in the future.
Australian opener David Warner was fined 50 per cent of his match fee during an ODI tri-series match in Australia in 2015 after he got into an altercation with Indian batsman Rohit Sharma and asked his opponent to “speak English” as the two had a go at each other. The late New Zealand captain Martin Crowe wrote in his column that Warner had gone too
far and should be banned if his behaviour continued.
Dhawan mocks Watson
India opener Shikhar Dhawan, who won’t feature in the first three ODIs but is likely to play in the series sometime later, had garnered widespread criticism during an ODI in Bangalore in 2013 for mocking Shane Watson by mimicking the Aussie’s hamstring injury. Dhawan hobbled around the field in an exaggerated fashion, which didn’t please the then captain MS Dhoni one bit.