It's personal: five memorable India-Pakistan cricketing spats

Published June 16, 2017
Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar exchange words.─AFP/File
Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar exchange words.─AFP/File

There is never a dull moment when India and Pakistan clash in cricket. Ahead of their showdown in the Champions Trophy final on Sunday, here are five of their most memorable spats:

When Miandad mimicked More

Indian wicketkeeper Kiran More angered Pakistan's mercurial Javed Miandad at the 1992 World Cup in Sydney with constant appeals for a dismissal. Miandad looked furious when More at one stage appealed for a runout, leaping up and down the pitch. Miandad turned towards More and the two exchanged sharp words.

The next ball, More flipped the bails off when Miandad was clearly in. The Pakistani imitated More by jumping up and down in one of the most comical moments in international cricket. India won the group match, but Pakistan won the title.

Prasad's perfect send-off

In their 1996 World Cup quarter-final in Bangalore, Pakistan opener Aamer Sohail aggressively went after India's opening bowlers. He brought up his 50 at more than a run a ball and celebrated with a blistering four off Venkatesh Prasad. As the ball raced to the fence, Sohail mocked Prasad, pointing to the region with the bat as if to say, “Go fetch”.

Sohail tried to repeat the slash off the next ball but was bowled. It was Prasad's turn to hit back, with the bowler appearing to mouth “Go home, you f****** bastard”. India won the match but went out to eventual winners Sri Lanka in the semi-final.

Gambhir, Afridi sledge-fest

Pakistan's tour of India in 2007 is remembered for Indian opener Gautam Gambhir and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi nearly coming to blows during a one-day international in Kanpur. Gambhir hit Afridi for a four and a verbal joust followed.

The next ball the players collided as Gambhir ran for a single.

A heated argument ensued with the players hurling abuse at each other. Afridi recently recalled the spat. He said Gambhir was not the friendliest cricketer around and they wouldn't be sharing a coffee with anytime soon.

Gambhir's drinks clash with Akmal

Gambhir was in the thick of controversy again in 2010 when he clashed with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal during an Asia Cup game at Dambulla. Tempers boiled over after Akmal's confident appeal for caught behind was denied by the umpire.

During the drinks break, the two were at each other's throats before captain MS Dhoni pulled aside Gambhir to calm things down. Later in a TV programme, Gambhir brushed aside the spat as a heat-of-the-moment thing and blamed the broadcaster for showing the row instead of advertisements during the break.

Harbhajan run-in with Akhtar

The bare-knuckle rivalry between India and Pakistan again came to the fore in the 2010 Asia Cup clash. Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and Shoaib Akhtar exchanged abuse in Punjabi, a language they both speak, after the Indian hit the 'Rawalpindi Express' for a massive six. Harbhajan had the last laugh when he hit the winning six with one ball to spare, triggering wild celebrations in the Indian dressing room.

Harbhajan said the two were often rivals on the pitch, but friends off. “Shoaib once threatened me he would come to my room and beat me. I told him come, let's see who beats whom. I was really scared. He is a great hulk,” the Indian said of their relationship last year.

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