5 Instances when cricketers made controversial comments on-air
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, cricketers find themselves in a situation where they just step over the line and end up being penalized for the same.
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Over the past decades, Cricket as a sport has gained a tremendous following and the stars of the sport are looked up by millions of people worldwide. Their on-field and off-field acts are followed closely by the fans and the media and this places a tremendous responsibility on their shoulders to act as ambassadors of the game.
The technological advancement has ensured that every move and every word of theirs on the field and in public forums is broadcasted worldwide immediately. Thus the players need to be very aware of the words they speak and their conduct. Being role models to many enthusiasts of the game, they are accountable for their actions.
The past decade or two has witnessed everything, right from ball-tampering to match-fixing, many on-field banters that crossed the boundaries, near fights and aggressive acts that took the rivalry a bit too far. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, cricketers find themselves in a situation where they just step over the line and end up being penalized for the same.
Here are five instances when cricketers made unsavoury remarks on-air:
1. Chris Gayle
We have seen Gayle storm create havoc across cricket pitches across the world with his bat… but there was this time when his banter Down Under whipped a storm that he lived to regret. The top-flight batsman has enough and more in his kitty to be amongst the newsmakers with regards to all the records he holds. Nevertheless, he did not have the greatest start to the year in 2016 as he landed himself in a controversy following an interview with Channel Ten journalist Mel McLaughlin.
A crackling 41 off 15 balls by the fiery southpaw put the Renegades on gear six while chasing a total of 140 against Hobart Hurricanes in the 6th edition of the Big Bash League (BBL). Having just been dismissed, he was approached by journalist Mel McLaughlin to interview him about his phenomenal innings. However, things went the other way when Chris Gayle steered the conversation in another direction altogether.
“I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well. That’s the reason why I’m here, just to see your eyes for the first time. Hopefully, we can win this game and we can have a drink later. Don’t blush, baby,” he said.
This wasn’t the first time he created such a controversy. His detestable comment on-air went all over the news making headlines for all the wrong reasons. It attracted a welter of criticism on the virtual space too. The Universe Boss later apologized for the remarks made and was fined the USD $7,200 for his misconduct.
2. Ahmed Shehzad
It has been advised and understood by players of the gentleman’s game to keep sensitive political and religious issues off the table while playing on the field. Despite this understanding, there has been a noticeable increase in the invoking of religious sentiments, allowing cricketers to use this belief in a rather thorny way.
A poor attempt at humour by Pakistan’s Ahmed Shehzad during the series versus Sri Lanka exhibits the same. While walking back to the dressing room during the ODI in Dambulla, Shehzad took a dig at the veteran batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan’s religious leanings saying, “If you are a non-Muslim and you turn Muslim, no matter whatever you do in your life, straight to heaven.”
The video of the vocal mishap was surfaced across all social media platforms. Dilshan had the final laugh scoring an unbeaten 50, getting the home team to a seven-wicket victory in the decider. Even though the Sri Lankan opener played down the incident and ruled out the chances of lodging a complaint, the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) took matters in their own hands and decided to hold an inquiry.
3. Dean Jones
The cricketer turned commentator was undoubtedly one of the best ODI batsmen in the late 80’s and the early 90’s. He was known for his frenetic running between the wickets and the willingness to take risks. However, he took one risk too many, when he committed the ultimate act of indiscretion, perhaps the most controversial comment by a player when he was commentating during the fourth day’s play between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo.
The incident happened when Hashim Amla, who is a proud devout Muslim, took the catch to dismiss an unsettled Kumar Sangakkara on day four. Commentating about the on-field action for Ten Sports, Dean Jones cried, “The terrorist has got another wicket.” This objectionable statement by the Aussie caused a turmoil of critical opprobrium by the media.
Jones was immediately sacked by Ten Sports, following which, he issued a statement apologising for his unsavoury comment. “It was a silly and completely insensitive thing to say and, obviously, it was never supposed to be heard over the air. I am truly sorry to have caused offence to anybody and the last thing I intended was to be disrespectful.” He also added that everyone needs to get away with the myth that beards associated with the Muslim faith are somehow suspicious.
4. Shoaib Akhtar
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to see the former pace spearhead in the list. The Rawalpindi Express is synonymous to controversies and is without a doubt one of the most controversial cricketers. Having been featured in disputes and embroiled in arguments many a time during his career, this trait becomes synonymous to him.
The maverick fast bowler went on a rant ride, while not only questioning inclusions but also tearing apart a few of the senior players who have done the nation proud. “Misbah is the most coward and selfish captain I have ever seen in the history of Pakistan cricket. He fears to come at number 3 position. If he has courage then why he doesn’t come on one down,” he said. He further mocked the inclusion of Younis Khan and went on to say “If we add up Misbah’s, Younis’ and Afridi’s ages this team will itself be 150 years old”
The stinging remarks evoked angry reactions from a majority of the Men in Green supporters as well as ex-cricketers. He was criticized for demeaning the cricketing board and officials, putting a dent to his reputation.
5. Sanjay Manjrekar
What cricket is to India is exactly what Manjrekar is to controversies. These two seem to be inseparable and he hasn’t failed to spark criticisms in recent times. The former middle-order batsman is finding a hard time with all the backlashes and controversies against his name leave alone commentating for the BCCI, which seems highly unlikely, post his axing from the commentators’ panel.
Right from mocking Jadeja, who played just one league game by saying “I am not a big fan of bits-and-pieces players, which Jadeja is, at this point of his career in 50-over cricket.” to his on-air spat with seasoned commentator Harsha Bhogle over the post-mortem issues of the pink ball, he is undoubtedly the pot-boiler of controversies.
Not only did he restrict himself to the Indian players when he said that, “He (Dhoni) does not put his wicket on the line as much during big games,” but he also went ahead claiming that the swashbuckling batsmen, Kieron Pollard does not have the brains to play early in the innings. Bottom-line, his quality of commentary has been in question and his remarks have irked the cricketing world massively.
Could this be the reason he’s been ousted?