The Indian T20 League is undoubtedly one of the most-watched sporting events in the world. Since its inception in 2008, the cash-rich tournament features almost all the leading cricketers across the globe.
Apart from providing the most enthralling cricketing action over the years, this domestic T20 League has also witnessed several huge controversies that took the cricket world by storm. Here’s a look at some of the controversial moments from the league’s history.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s Mankad - 2019
Former Punjab spinner and captain Ravichandran Ashwin was involved in one of the biggest controversies after he Mankaded Rajasthan batsman Jos Buttler in the 2019 edition of the Indian T20 League.
Ashwin had dislodged the bails at the non-striker’s end even before the delivery was bowled as he saw Jos Buttler advance a few steps away from the crease. After Buttler was given out, the England cricketer immediately exchanged words with Ashwin as he left the field.
Interestingly, this dismissal changed the complexion of the whole match as Rajasthan lost from a very strong position. It turned out to be the first “Mankading" in Indian T20 League history.
Several former cricketers including Shane Warne, Michael Vaughan and Eoin Morgan took to social media to criticise Ashwin for his ‘unsporting act’.
However, Ashwin defended himself in the post-match press conference saying, “On my part, it was very instinctive. It was not planned or anything like that. It’s there within the rules of the game. I don't understand where the spirit of the game comes, naturally if it's there in the rules it's there."
Meanwhile, Ashwin chose not to Mankad Bangalore batsman Aaron Finch and instead gave him a warning in the 2020 edition. Later on, the off-spinner said, “Aaron is my friend!”
Pune cricketers arrested by Mumbai Police - 2012
During the 2012 edition of the Indian T20 League, India leg-spinner Rahul Sharma and South Africa pacer Wayne Parnell were arrested at a rave party in Mumbai. The now-defunct Pune franchise cricketers were among 100-odd people who were detained by the police.
While both Rahul Sharma and Wayne Parnell had claimed to have not taken any drugs, the duo had allegedly tested positive for recreational drugs. A 1,200-page charge sheet was filed against all those who were detained at the party.
Meanwhile, Rahul Sharma stated that he was attending a birthday party along with the left-arm pacer, while Wayne Parnell claimed that they were only drinking and dancing. The Proteas cricketer added that it was simply a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
While Rahul was later proven innocent by the dope test conducted by the BCCI, Parnell subsequently appeared in court and was bailed on drug-related charges. A further procedural court appearance took place while Parnell was in the South African squad for the 2014 World T20 competition which took place in India. Parnell claimed he was innocent of any drug consumption.
Shah Rukh Khan’s alleged scuffle with security guards at Wankhede - 2012
Team Kolkata owner Shah Rukh Khan had got into an argument with the security staff at the Wankhede Stadium in 2012. The incident took place after Kolkata had beaten Mumbai during an Indian T20 League match.
The Bollywood superstar was accused of trying to walk onto the field of play after the game in a drunken state and that he even abused a security personnel. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials lodged a complaint against him at the Marine Drive police station. However, SRK stated that he acted only after his children, including his daughter, were being "manhandled" by the security staff and that the officials behaved extremely rudely.
Meanwhile, the MCA banned Shah Rukh from entering the Wankhede Stadium for five years. The ban was later lifted in 2015.
In 2016, Mumbai Police informed that no 'cognisable offence' was made out against Shah Rukh Khan and they had come to the conclusion that the Bollywood superstar was not drunk and did not use abusive language before minors at the Wankhede Stadium in 2012.
Slapgate - 2008
During the inaugural edition of the Indian T20 League, Punjab pacer S Sreesanth was allegedly slapped by then Mumbai captain Harbhajan Singh.
After Punjab defeated Mumbai, the Indian off-spinner slapped Sreesanth after he tried to shake Bhajji's hands, who was said to be in a foul mood. The incident came to light as Sreesanth was caught on the television cameras crying inconsolably on the field before the presentation ceremony.
After Harbhajan was found guilty, the BCCI suspended him immediately for the remainder of the tournament and also prohibited him from collecting his wages. The board also decided to ban Harbhajan for five ODIs after he had broken the code of conduct in his national contract.
Sreesanth and Harbhajan later resolved the situation and became friends again.
Spot-fixing scandal - 2013
The spot-fixing cum betting incident in the 2013 Indian T20 League was undoubtedly the most significant controversy that rocked the high-profile league.
Rajasthan franchise cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested by Delhi Police on the charges of alleged spot-fixing.
Meanwhile, in a separate case, Mumbai Police arrested Vindu Dara Singh and Chennai team principal Gurunath Meiyappan for alleged betting.
The owners of Chennai and Rajasthan franchises were suspended for two years by the RM Lodha Committee in July 2015. On the other hand, Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan were cleared of all the charges after they were found not guilty by the Patiala House Courts.
However, BCCI imposed life bans on Sreesanth and Chavan in September 2013. Ajit Chandila was banned for life in January 2016.
Later in March 2019, the Supreme Court lifted the life ban imposed by BCCI on S Sreesanth.
Featured image courtesy: Manjunath Kiran/INDRANIL MUKHERJEE /AFP