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‘From 2000 match-fixing scandal to Tendulkar’s suspension’: 5 biggest India vs South Africa controversies


‘From 2000 match-fixing scandal to Tendulkar’s suspension’: 5 biggest India vs South Africa controversies


Team India is all set for the South Africa series with the first T20 scheduled on 10 December. The series is expected to be memorable for many reasons mainly because India is going in with a totally young squad in the white ball format of the series. South Africa has also fielded many youngsters to welcome Team India and the cricket fans are expecting some exciting moments ahead of the T20 World Cup next year.

Apart from likely excitement and energy around India’s tour of South Africa, cricket fans will not forget that India and South Africa had their share of controversies in the past. The two strong teams fought with passion against each other and naturally sometimes went overboard in search of a victory.

India’s tour of South Africa: 5 biggest controversies

1. 2000 match-fixing scandal: This is one of the biggest controversies in the history of world cricket which embroiled the image of cricket as a “gentlemen’s game.” India’s 3-2 series victory against South Africa came under the clouds when Delhi Police exposed the conversations between former South African skipper Hansie Cronje and a bookie Sanjeev Chawla, who asked him to underperform during the ODI series. The revelations shook the cricket world with Indian players also being dragged into the controversy.

The Indian agencies charged Hansie Cronje and two South African players Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje with charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy. As the agencies widened the net, names of Indian players like Mohammad Azharuddin also came into the picture against whom Hansie Cronje made allegations that Azharuddin was the one to introduce him to the bookie.

2. Sachin Tendulkar suspension: During the 2001 South Africa tour, match referee Mike Denness accused Sachin Tendulkar of ball tampering and suspended him for a match. The decision drew an aggressive reaction from Team India players with Harbhajan Singh, Shiv Sunder Das, and Deep Dasgupta expressing their objection to the decision of the match referee. Mike Denness took action against the Indian players for expressing dissent and also against skipper Sourav Ganguly for failing to control the Indian players.

The BCCI expressed strong dissatisfaction with the situation, initiating a significant protest and even issuing a threat to withdraw from the tour should Denness persist as the match referee for the third and final Test.

3. When Dravid lost his cool: Former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid is well-known for his calmness on and off the field. But, during an ODI against South Africa in 1997, Dravid was rubbed wrongly by Donald. The South African player got an appropriate response form Rahul Dravid, who was just one year young in his international career. Donald regretted his behavior and even apologized to Rahul Dravid a quarter of a century later.

4. Sreesanth’s epic celebration: Team India pacer S Sreesanth, who knows how to make headlines broke into wild celebrations after slamming a stunning six against South Africa’s Andre Nel during the Johannesburg Test in 2006. S Sreesanth also played his role well with the ball as his spell of 5/40 forced South Africa to finish with one of their lowest scores.

5. ‘11 against a nation’: If you are thinking that the India-South Africa controversies are a thing of the past, think again. During India’s tour of South Africa in 2022, Team India expressed disappointment over how Dean Elgar survived the LBW appeal through DRS. Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Ravichandran Ashwin were visibly upset with the decision of the third umpire with Rahul saying “It’s the whole country against 11 guys.”



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Published: 08 Dec 2023, 08:52 PM IST


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