Each season of the Indian Premier League a.k.a IPL produces some controversies which go on to be discussed beyond the 22 yards. The biggest controversy that tarnished the league’s reputation was the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years, for alleged match-fixing.
Similarly, Harbhajan Singh slapping S Sreesanth, Gautam Gambhir kicking the dugout chair or Lalit Modi’s sacking are some of the major highlights of how controversial a tournament IPL is.
As the 12th season of the cash-rich league has come to an end, here we look at five controversies which were the most talked about.
#1. When Ravi Ashwin ‘mankaded’ Jos Buttler
One of the biggest talking points of IPL 12 came when the skipper of the Kings XI Punjab Ravichandran Ashwin ‘mankaded’ Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler on March 25. Buttler, a batting mainstay for the Royals, was playing in full swing in a chase the Royals, when Ashwin stopped mid-way through his bowling to run-out the English batsman at the non-strikers end when his feet were out of the crease. Buttler’s wicket was the turning point of the game which cost the Royals a win. What followed was lots of flak, which criticized Ashwin for being unprofessional. Mankading, or dismissing a batsman at the non-striker’s end on finding him out of the crease, is still relatively uncommon in cricket. But Ashwin stood firm in his say and maintained that mankading should now be made a rule in the game.
#2. When MS Dhoni stormed into the field
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has forever been known as the calmest man under the helmet. But ‘Captain Cool’ lost his cool this season in a last-ball win over Rajasthan Royals.
18 runs were needed off six balls when Dhoni had just been dismissed. Ravindra Jadeja was the next man to come out to bat. Ben Stokes bowled a waist-high full toss to Jadeja which umpire Ulhas Gandhe said was a no-ball, but after consulting with the square-leg umpire, he turned back his decision and did not give a no-ball.
This angered Dhoni, who walked onto the field to argue with the umpire and also pointed fingers at Gandhe. However, the decision was not overturned but Dhoni came under the scanner because no cricketer is allowed to walk onto the field during the course of the game. He was subsequently fined 50% of his match fee by the BCCI.
#3. The no-ball howlers
Mumbai Indians beat Royal Challengers Bangalore by six runs when seven were needed off the last over. Lasith Malinga overstepped off the final ball, and that was clearly visible even before the on-field screens replayed it. However, umpire Sundaram Ravi, who is the only remaining Indian umpire on ICC Elite Panel, missed spotting the bowler overstepping and ruled out a no-ball.
RCB skipper Virat Kohli was seen fuming at such a careless umpiring howler. “We are playing at the IPL level and not playing club cricket. The umpires should have had their eyes open. That is a ridiculous call in the last ball. If it is a game of margins, I don’t know what is happening. They should have been more sharp and careful out there,” he said after the game.
#4. Andre Russell’s explosive comments at the press conference
Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders started the season on a high, but succumbed to six successive defeats. Jamaican all-rounder Andre Russell was the only player who was performing. The rest of the team, including skipper Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy, was below the mark.
After the sixth loss on a trot, a frustrated Russell spoke against Karthik at a media session in Kolkata. “We have a good team but if you make bad decisions then you will always lose games and that’s what we’ve been doing. If we had enough time, I could pinpoint a few games where if we just looked to bowl tighter in areas or bring in right bowlers at the right time, we could have won,” Russell said.
The above comment, the first of its kind seen in the IPL against a captain from an overseas player, turned into a huge controversy. Till the last league game of the season, rumours had it that Russell and Karthik were always at opposite ends.
#5. Virat Kohli’s rude send-off to Ravi Ashwin
In the Bangalore vs Punjab game, the latter needed 27 runs off the final over. Captain Ravichandran Ashwin hit Umesh Yadav’s first delivery for a six. However, the next big shot went straight in the hands of Kohli. He reacted in an animated manner and gave a rude send-off to Ashwin.
Twitter lashed out at the Indian captain. One of the fans wrote, “How unbecoming it is of an Indian captain to publicly humiliate a teammate (without provocation) can’t be overstated.”
Virat is known for his wrong gestures on the field. He will have to keep that on check in the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.