On May 1st, the IPL 2023 match between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore produced plenty of fireworks, not just in the cricketing sense. RCB’s Virat Kohli first had a run-in with LSG bowler Naveen-ul-Haq. This irked LSG mentor Gautam Gambhir. The former opener confronted Kohli, his ex-India and Delhi teammate, with whom he has had a bit of history.
“Kya bol raha hain bol,” (Tell me what you were saying) Gambhir told Kohli, according to a PTI report.
Kohli replied, “Maine aapko kuch bola hi nahin, aap kyon ghus rahein ho?” (I didn’t say anything to you, why are you interfering?)
Gambhir responded, “Tuney agar mere player (Naveen) ko bola hai, matlab tune meri family ko gaali di hai.” (If you have abused my player, you have abused my family).
Kohli then said, “Toh aap apne family ko sambhal ke rakhiye.” (Then you keep your family under control).
To that, Gambhir said, “Ab tu mujhe sikhayega?” (Now you will tell me what to do?)
The two famous hotheads then went their separate ways. Gambhir and Kohli both were fined 100 per cent of their match fees for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct.
Here are some of the other instances in sporting history when things got testy on the field.
John McEnroe At Wimbledon (Tennis)
Four decades after his peak years, McEnroe remains the most famous bad boy of tennis. The American with an edgy rock star persona and sublime lefty skills was a nightmare for umpires in the way Nick Kyrgios is today. His most famous tantrum occurred at Wimbledon 1981. During his first round against Tom Gullikson, he was furious after umpire Edward James ruled ‘out’ on what seemed like a legitimate ace down the middle. “Excuse me?” a surprised McEnroe first said, before exploding, “You can’t be serious, man, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!” McEnroe went on to win the match as well as the tournament. Ironically, his temper issues made him more famous. Post-career, outbursts became his shtick, earning him offers for lucrative commercials, film cameos and exhibition matches.
Eric Cantona’s ‘Kung-Fu Kick’ (Football)
With its physical nature and global following, a football match is almost always a ticking time bomb. But while most confrontations happen between players, or players and umpires, there are occasions when players clash with fans. One of the most famous instances of this is Eric Cantona’s ‘kung-fu’ style kick hurled at an abusive Crystal Palace fan named Matthew Simmons during Manchester United’s match against Palace in 1995. Cantona won titles for the Red Devils, scored 82 goals and is universally accepted as a genius. But he remains notorious for his behavior, especially the kick at Simmons. But he is unrepentant about it, as he feels the fan insulted him and deserved it. “I’d have loved to have kicked him even harder,” Cantona once said in an interview.
Max Verstappen vs. George Russell (Formula One)
Another moment on-field that grabbed the limelight for the wrong reasons involved current F1 champion Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ George Russell. Verstappen used a cuss word at the Mercedes driver at the end of Baku’s Sprint race, after the duo had made contact in the opening corners which left the Dutchman’s car with a gaping hole in its sidepod. In his retort, Russell said that Verstappen “spat his dummy out” with his “pathetic” reaction.
Inzamam-ul-Haq vs Fan At Sahara Cup (Cricket)
Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was known to be a cool and composed customer on the field, but on one occasion the Pakistan batter became irate.
In 1997, during the second ODI between India and Pakistan, a major incident broke out when Inzamam was called an ‘aloo’ (potato) by a spectator named Shiv Kumar Thind from the stands. All hell broke loose, as Inzamam went after the spectator in the crowd. Security and spectators held the two apart. Inzamam received a two-match ban for his angry reaction.