The most memorable sledging instances in the India v Australia rivalry

The most popular among various instances of sledging between the two teams.

Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds Monkegate
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds Monkegate. (© Getty Images)

Cricketing folklore has witnessed some of the most intense rivalries ever between bitter rivals India-Pakistan and fierce competitors Australia-England over the years. However, at the same time, there has been one rivalry which has slowly emerged into prominence developing into an eye-catching and massively entertaining battle.

The one being referred is between Australia and India which has experienced its fair share of sledging and controversy over the years. Indian captain Virat Kohli recently declared post the win in Dharamshala, 2017 that his relationship with the Australians whom he had previously labelled as “friends” had certainly deteriorated drastically after a hotly contested Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Let’s take a look at the most popular among various instances of sledging between the two teams.


1. Sunil Gavaskar-Dennis Lillee, 1981

Bowlers like Denis Lillee were well-known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves and largely indulging in an aggressive brand of cricket. The year 1981 witnessed the first ever instance of sledging between the nations when Indian legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar decided to walk off the pitch along with fellow opener Chetan Chauhan after being enraged at the abusive language hurled by the Aussie fast-bowler. This incident marked the beginning of instances involving sledging between the 2 nations.

2. Gautam Gambhir-Shane Watson, 2008:

Fiery Indian opener Gautam Gambhir who is well known for his aggressive and largely dominating attitude was involved in an infamous altercation with Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. The 2008 Border-Gavaskar trophy witnessed an ugly war of words when Gambhir was provoked by Watson while running between the wickets with the opener retaliating by nudging him while completing the second run. The pair indulged in a nasty argument which resulted in Gambhir’s suspension for the next test even after completing his double century.

3. Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds, 2008:

The events which transpired between controversial Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh in Sydney sent shockwaves down the spine of cricketing experts and the traditionalists who bemoaned the massive decline of the “gentleman’s game”.

Symonds accused Bhajji as he is nicknamed of racially abusing him after the pair indulged in an argument during the hotly contested series. Backing from legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Indian team and the BCCI resulted in Bhajji’s 3 test match ban being overturned.

4. Zaheer Khan-Ricky Ponting, 2010:

Former Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan who is hailed as one of the greatest Indian bowlers ever certainly could not resist a jibe at then Australian captain Ricky Ponting who was known for his hard-nosed and aggressive attitude. Khan’s jibe after Ponting was runout resulted in a quick exchange between the two with the matter coming to a quick rest after intervention by players.

5. Virat Kohli – Mitchell Johnson, 2014-15

There is certainly no love lost between Indian swashbuckling batsman Virat Kohli and the Aussies over the years. Virat Kohli accused the Aussies of labelling him as a “spoilt brat” and was further involved in an intense fight with Australian left-arm legendary fast bowler who emerged as a hero in the “Ashes” Mitchell Johnson and is well known for his in-your-face-attitude. Kohli was struck by a return throw from Johnson and though the latter immediately apologized, the incident resulted in a heated argument between the two.