5 On-field rivals who were teammates once upon a time

One might wonder what happens when a pair of rivals represent the same team.

Virat Kohli & Steve Smith News

Virat Kohli & Steve Smith. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Virat Kohli & Steve Smith News
Virat Kohli & Steve Smith. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Cricket is widely regarded as the ‘gentleman’s game’With multiple personalities shaping the image of the game, cricket became a symbol of generosity and sportsmanship. Personalities like Rahul Dravid and Steve Waugh became the global-ambassadors of the game and people started to follow them as their idols.

Over time, the flavor of the game has changed. Do you remember Sourav Ganguly taking off his shirt as a sign of revenge when team India won the iconic Natwest final at Lord’s in 2002? Well, this marked the beginning of a spiced rivalry in cricket.

Since then the fans have witnessed several rivalries that shaped a particular series. One of the most famous examples is Shane Warne’s battle against Kevin PietersenWith the involvement of T20 cricket, tension has increased substantially amongst the players and the frequency of new rivalry in the circuit has been increasing.

Sledging has become an important arsenal to distract the opposition and this sometimes results in heated arguments. However, one might wonder what happens when a pair of rivals represent the same team. Well, this has happened before! After all, it is cricket.

Here are the 5 On-field rivals who were teammates once upon a time:

1. Steven Smith and Eoin Morgan 

Steve Smith & Eoin Morgan
ODI captains Steve Smith and Eoin Morgan pose for a photo. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Two of the oldest cricket-playing nations will have a rivalry. Australia and England were the torchbearers for other cricketing nations to showcase the path to the establishment of cricket on other soils. Fast forward to the 1975 World Cup, the business sector in cricket got a push and hence, there was a series of rivalries in world cricket.

One of the fiercest rivalries in world cricket is England and Australia. In the current generation, the Australia-England rivalry is revolving around two players. The Australian team is represented by Steven Smith and the English team by Eoin Morgan. Smith is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen of this generation.

With an average of 43.35 in ODIs, the Australian batting order works around Smith. Talking about Morgan. He has an ODI average of 39.37 and is England’s skipper. Well, the fans got to watch them together when they saw both of them representing the same team- the Royal Challengers Bangalore. 

On the field, both the batsmen are rivals, and off the field, they are the gentlemen one would admire. The rivalry between Australia and England dates back to the 1800s. For the fans, a healthy competition along with a small amount of sledging does the trick for entertainment. Therefore, the rivalry of Smith and Morgan makes it to this list. 

2. Ravindra Jadeja and Kamran Akmal

Kamran Akmal and Ravindra Jadeja
Kamran Akmal and Ravindra Jadeja. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Apart from the Australia-England rivalry, another competitive rivalry that brings out excitement amongst the fans is the India-Pakistan rivalry. This feud goes beyond the boundaries of the game, thanks to the media. Since the first world cup, both sides have met numerous times, however, Pakistan is still yet to open their account in their head-to-head rivalry with India.

And with the passage of various world-cup editions, we have witnessed various rivalries. Do you remember Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi sledging each other during tense situations? Well, think of a situation when both of them will represent a common team! Unfortunately, this never happened, but we have witnessed two modern-era regulars from their respective teams who were sporting the same jersey.

It is none other than India’s most valuable player Ravindra Jadeja and Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal. Both of them were representing the Rajasthan Royals during the 2008 IPL season. Coming off after an emphatic victory in the Under-19 world cup, Jadeja was picked up by the Royals and was part of the IPL winning squad.

Along with him, Akmal was an overseas member of the squad. Well, it is exciting to bring back some fresh memories as both of them represent different nations who have the fiercest rivalry in world cricket! Hence, the Jadeja-Akmal duo makes it to this list. 

3. Rahul Dravid and Misbah-ul-Haq

Rahul Dravid and Misbah Ul Haq
Rahul Dravid and Misbah Ul Haq. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

During the 2000s, the India -Pakistan rivalry was taking shape and reaching heights. With multiple tours, the Indian team was able to host its flag on Pakistan soil. Well, one of the most vital members of that team was Rahul Dravid. The legendary batsman is widely regarded as the greatest of all time.

With sheer determination and intent, he was able to tear down any bowler. When questions were raised about his versatility, he amassed more than 10,000 runs in ODI cricket. If we search for his counterpart in the Pakistani lineup, there is only one name that comes to our mind. He is the former Pakistani captain, Misbah-ul-Haq.

The middle-order batsman has smashed more than 5,000 runs in ODI cricket, but he has never scored a century! Well, their rivalry on the field as members of different teams playing for the same post had attracted the attention of viewers during those days. 

Dravid was the go-to man for his captain and the same goes for Misbah. Both of them are excellent players of pace bowling and can occupy the crease for long periods. Adding on, the fans witnessed Dravid and Misbah playing for the same team during the first edition of the IPL.

The team they represented together was Royal Challengers Bangalore. Although they failed to sneak into the top four, the fans had their share of the money by witnessing two legends of the game playing together!

4. Glenn McGrath and Virender Sehwag

Glenn McGrath and Virender Sehwag
Glenn McGrath and Virender Sehwag. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Apart from the Ashes and India-Pakistan rivalry, another competitive environment that draws views from all around the world is that of India-Australia. During the 2001 Australia’s tour of India, the duo of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid broke Australia’s dream of beating India in India.

Later on, in the final of the 2003 World Cup, Australia destroyed the Indian bowling attack! As MS Dhoni was handed the captaincy, he led India to World Cup glory for the second time. During that tournament, they defeated the mighty Aussies in the quarterfinals. While the rivalry continues, there are numerous instances of individual rivalries as well.

You might have recalled the Harbhajan-Symonds feud that occurred during the 2008 India’s tour of Australia. But, there is one rivalry that no one speaks of! It is the battle in which Sehwag and McGrath took part in. Sehwag is hailed as the opener who brought the change in attitude amongst the Indian batsmen.

His carefree attitude enabled him to tee-off any against bowling attacks from the world. On the other side, there is Glenn McGrath. With a stellar economy rate under 4 runs per over in ODIs, he was a vital member of Ricky Ponting’s squad during the 2003 and 2007 ICC World Cups.

During the 2003 World Cup final, Sehwag was the lone warrior and McGrath was knocking down the Indian batsmen! However, both of them had represented the same team during the IPL. They represented Delhi Daredevils, the team which managed to make it to the playoffs during the first edition of the IPL. Therefore, the duo of Sehwag and McGrath makes it to this list. 

5. Virat Kohli and Steven Smith

Virat Kohli & Steve Smith News
Virat Kohli & Steve Smith. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Well, here is another India-Australia duo on the cards! This time, we have two of the best batsmen in the world at the moment. With the Indian captain Virat Kohli and former Australian captain Steven Smith on the field, one would pay any amount to watch them have a go against each other.

Even though both of them are friends off the field, their rivalry was amplified when Smith was looking at the dressing room for DRS assistance during a Test match in India. This action from Smith triggered Kohli as he gave him a send-off after the umpires refused Smith to take a referral. 

Talking about their records, both of them average over 50 in the longest format of the game. While both of them are the best batsmen of the respective teams, they have scored heavily against each other. Although Smith’s career took a downfall after the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, he made a strong comeback in the international arena.

He has been Australia’s go-to-man during critical moments of the game. As we speak of the go-to-men, one name that is synonymous with greatness is Virat Kohli. The Indian captain has ruled the international arena as he was given the International player of the decade award.

In their rivalry, both of them had their share of moments but it was Kohli’s kind gesture during the 2019 World Cup which enabled him to win the Spirit of the Game award. Well, you will be surprised to learn that both Smith and Kohli had represented RCB at the same time!

During that era, Kohli was a hot pick as he was popular amongst the fans as the U19 World Cup-winning captain. For Smith, it was all about making a name for himself as he was drafted in as a leg-spinner who can bat!

Later on, they became two of the most complete batsmen in world cricket! Therefore they make it to this list of 5 on-field rivals who were teammates once upon a time.