There is a character trait that’s usually assigned to players who come from a particular country. For instance, the Kiwis are known as the nice guys, while the Aussies are popular for their arrogance and aggressive nature. For a long time, Indians have been put in the category of calm-headed, friendly cricketers. However, in recent years, there has been a change. Before, as well, there were a few cases where Indians reacted to an opponent on the field. In this article, we take a look at five instances when Indian players gave it back to the opponent.
1) Sourav Ganguly to Andrew Flintoff
Incident: Dada waving his shirt at the Lord’s balcony || Match: vs England, Jul 13th, 2002 NatWest Tri-series Final, London
A few months before the Lord’s incident, England leveled an ODI series against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. On that occasion, Andrew Flintoff ran to the pitch, taking his shirt off and celebrating the victory.
In the same year, India was down to 146-5, chasing 326 to win the NatWest Tri-series final. However, youngsters Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh stitched an iconic partnership that helped India cross the line. The euphoria was such that Ganguly took his shirt off and waved it at the Lord’s balcony. This was a response to Flintoff’s act a few months earlier.
2) Yuvraj Singh to Andrew Flintoff
Incident: Yuvraj Singh hitting six sixes in an over || Match: vs England, Sep 19th, 2007 World T20, Durban
‘I will cut your throat off!’. This is what Andrew Flintoff uttered to Yuvraj Singh to disturb him so that India’s progress could stall. Yuvi said a few words back, but the desire for revenge was still there.
That said, Yuvi’s revenge happened not against Freddie but his teammate Stuart Broad. The southpaw struck six sixes in an over and made it a nightmarish moment for the English squad. Hence, this is one of the instances when Indian players gave it back to the opponent.
3) MS Dhoni to Bangladesh
Incident: MS Dhoni’s heroic last-ball run-out || Match: vs Bangladesh, Mar 23rd, 2016 World T20, Bengaluru
Ever since Bangladesh defeated India in the group stages of the 2007 World Cup, there has been a spark between fans of both nations. However, it is the Bangladeshi’s who took it to the uglier level. By photoshopping MS Dhoni‘s severed head, the fans did the unthinkable.
In the 2016 World T20, India needed a win against Bangladesh to stay alive in the competition. Hardik Pandya was bowling the last over, and the match looked doubtful for India in the initial deliveries. Mushfiqur Rahim’s premature celebration was the trigger. Later, India took wickets off successive deliveries, and with two runs needed off the final ball, MS Dhoni removed his glove before the ball was delivered. This tactic helped him pull off an incredible run-out which helped India win. The Bangladeshi cricketers and fans were distraught, and friction increased when Rahim posted a demeaning tweet after India lost to West Indies a few days later.
4) Venkatesh Prasad to Aamir Sohail
Incident: Prasad giving a send-off after picking Sohail’s wicket || Match: vs Pakistan, Mar 9th, 1996 World Cup, Bengaluru
Known to be a cool customer, even Venkatesh Prasad was triggered by Aamir Sohail’s sledge in this game. The fact that it was the World Cup quarter-final and that too against Pakistan, Venky’s adrenaline was anyways at its peak.
Pakistan was dominating the chase, and while this was happening, Aamir Sohail struck Venkatesh Prasad to a boundary on the off-side. Not stopping there, he pointed the direction of the ball with his fingers to Prasad. The bowler did speak a little, but his team was under pressure. Next ball, though, he clean bowled him and gave the Pakistani opener his version of a send-off.
5) Virat Kohli to Mitchell Johnson
Incident: Virat smashing a boundary after Johnson tried to hurt him || Match: vs Australia, Dec 26th, 2014 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Melbourne
Of course, this list is incomplete without Virat Kohli. The 2014 Tour of Australia saw Virat Kohli taking over as India’s Test captain and also becoming a reliable batsman. In the third test, when Virat was en-route to a century, Mitchel Johnson tried to disturb the player by throwing the ball at him. Virat was hurt with the blow.
Virat did speak a few words, but the firebrand cricketer was itching for revenge. He hit the left-arm pacer to a boundary in the last ball of the same over. Virat’s expression towards Johnson then did not have a response. Virat also made a century in that game. This is also one of the instances when Indian players gave it back to the opponent.