Cricket, as we know, has undergone a massive transformation, swept in the swirling winds of the T20 format. And, the Indian Premier League is all set enter in its eleventh edition. As much as it has entertained cricket lovers over the last ten seasons, the tournament has found one or the other reason to stay in controversy as well. Be it an on-field clash between players or off-field accusations, IPL has given a lot to write and speak about. As the league enters its 11th year, here are few incidents that rocked the gentleman’s game and changed the face of Indian cricket forever.
The slap-gate (2008)
In the first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), off-spinner Harbhajan Singh slapped the fast-bowler Sreesanth at the end of a Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab match. This was the first controversy in IPL. Harbhajan was banned for the remaining season while his entire match fees went as fine. The Mumbai Indians coach Lalachand Rajput was fined 50% of the match fee for not stopping the incident.
Pakistani cricketers ban from IPL (2009)
After the Mumbai terror attack in 2009, the Pakistani government said that it will be unsafe for its players to travel India for following years IPL. Many top players such as Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Shoaib Malik have declined permission with several others.
Lalit Modi saga (2010)
The Indian Premier League was Lalit Modi’s brain-child and it could be argued that the worldwide success of the IPL is because of him. However, Modi was shown the door from the helm of the league in an unceremonious manner in 2010. Lalit Modi was accused of financial impropriety, rigging bidding deals, offering bribes, betting and money laundering. However, Modi still maintains that he was not part of any wrongdoings and currently lives in the United Kingdom because he claims he fear for his life in India.
Cheerleader’s shocking revelation (2011)
A South African cheerleader Gabriella Pasqualotto blogged about deplorable conduct of cricketers at post-match parties which created a stir. And later she was sacked from her role by the IPL.
Luke Pomersbach molestation charges (2012)
Luke Pomersback, The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman was arrested over a complaint of molestation by a US woman. The woman claimed that the Aussie player beaten up her fiance when he tried to intervene. Later, RCB suspended Pomersbach pending inquiry and later all charges were dropped after the woman withdrew her complaint.
Spot-fixing controversy (2013)
The IPL sank into its biggest controversy yet, when the spot-fixing reared its ugly head again in 2013. The involvement of team owners besides key players pointed to a malaise that was threatening to turn fatal not just to the league, but cricket itself. The controversy started with arrest of the bookies in Delhi and Ahmedabad but exploded in dramatic fashion when they caught Vindoo Dara Singh. The story gained depth very quickly with police establishing the involvement of Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, who were the key owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals respectively. Later on, the Delhi police arrested three cricketers — Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — all of whom were part of the Rajasthan Royals and were found to have established connections with the bookies. Since then the BCCI has taken some strong steps to keep corruption away from cricket.
Shah Rukh Khan ban at Wankhede stadium (2012)
In 2012, Bollywood’s King Khan, Shah Rukh Khan who is also the owner of ‘Kolkata Knigh Riders’ got into a scuffle with the security guards at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. The MCA alleged SRK of being drunk and misbehaving in the stand and later was banned for 5 years from entering the stadium.
Wayne Parnell & Rahul Sharma caught at a rave party (2012)
Then Pune Warriors teammates Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell, along with 42 others were caught by Mumbai Police for consumption of recreational drugs during the rave party at a posh hotel in Juhu in 2012. Both Parnell and Sharma claimed to have not taken any drugs but their positive blood samples shattered those claims. The duo found support in BCCI wings like N Srinivasan and said that they shouldn’t be handed harsh punishments as they did not take any kind of performance-enhancing drugs.
Virat Kohli-Gautam Gambhir fight (2013)
Things took ugly turn in 2013, Kohli charged at Gambhir after the latter purposely gave him a send-off. Later both exchanged words and ultimately Rajat Bhatia had to pacify the duo. However, the duo again in 2016 and had a banter but this time the situation was much calmer.
Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia fight (2014)
It is a well-known thing that ‘Dimple Girl’ Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia ended their relationship but decided to continue their professional relationship. But later, thing took ugly turn when Ness allegedly threatened and molested Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta at Wankhede stadium. Preity lodged a complaint with the police, accusing Wadia of threatening to kill her.
Kieron Pollard-Mitchell Starc altercation (2014)
When RCB’s bowler Mitchell Starc bowled a bouncer to Mumbai Indians’ big man Kieron Pollard which got him angry but the Carribean controlled his anger and comments also. But in the next ball, Polly couldn’t control himself and tried to throw his bat at Starc. Pollard was fined 75% while Starc lost 50% of his match fee.
Mr Kohli breaks the rules (2015)
Now, Team India’s captain Virat Kohli breaks BCCI’s anti-corruption guidelines when he stepped out of players area to meet his now wife, Anushka Sharma during a rain-delay match. As per the BCCI guidelines, players aren’t allowed to leave their designated area during a match. Later, Kohli left with only a warning.
No IPL in Maharashtra (2016)
Giving the verdict on a PIL filed by an NGO, the Bombay High Court directed BCCI to shift all IPL matches out of drought-hit Maharashtra. The court stated that due to the drought conditions in the state of Maharashtra, the use of water for maintaining cricket pitches was a waste. The state missed 13 matches, including the final at Wankede.
Harsha Bhogle out of IPL 2016
Harsha Bhogle isn’t flashy in the commentary team, but he does bring a sense of maturity and wisdom. He was an exemplary figure in the commentary box from the beginning of the IPL in 2008 until 2016. In 2016, his contract was terminated just a week before of the commencement of IPL 2016 with no reason provided for the expulsion. His conversation with a Vidarbha Cricket official during the WT20 didn’t go down well, which was suspected to be a primary reason for Bhogle’s termination.