Cricinfo XI

Temper, temper

In the light of Mark Vermeulen's tantrum playing the the Lancashire League, Martin Williamson looks at 11 other instances where players or officials have spat the dummy

Martin Williamson

September 19, 2006

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In the light of Mark Vermeulen's tantrum playing the the Lancashire League, Martin Williamson looks at 11 other instances where players or officials have spat the dummy. There are a number more which didn't quite make the grade ... but if you have a favourite that is missing, send us an email and we may run a 2nd XI next week



Viv Richards: three ducks in one match and a two-year ban © Getty Images
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Viv Richards Antigua v St Kitts, St John's, 1968-69
Richards was not really a stranger to confrontation - he once marched into the stands at Headingley and challenged someone to repeat abuse aimed at him ... given the size and presence of the man confronting him, the spectator wisely opted to meekly back down. In 1968-69, the 16-year-old Richards was given out caught at short leg playing for Antigua against St Kitts. Richards petulantly stood his ground and confronted the umpire, before finally trudging off after several minutes. The crowd, incensed by what they saw as their up-and-coming hero being sawn off, invaded the pitch. After two hours of negotiations, the authorities amazingly decided Richards should be reinstated, and the match resumed. Richards was out almost as soon as the game restarted for a second duck, and he added a third in Antigua's second innings! He was subsequently banned for two years.

Peter McConnell Australia v England, MCG, 1990-91
It's rare that Phil Tufnell was the sinned against rather than the sinner, but during the second Test on England's disastrous 1990-91 Ashes tour, it was McConnell, the umpire, who lost his cool as the pair shared what Tufnell described as "a brief but intense relationship based on mutual contempt". While Tufnell sometimes made clear his thoughts on umpires, at the MCG he appeared to have done little wrong when he politely asked how many balls were left in the over. "Count 'em yourself you Pommie ****," was the reply. England Graham Gooch overheard the outburst and was moved to remonstrate with McConnell. "He wasn't giving me a bollocking for once," noted a surprised Tufnell. "You could have tied my tits together with candyfloss if the old sod wasn't sticking up for me."

Billy Barnes Australia v England, SCG 1884-85
Barnes was England's leading allrounder through the 1880s. He had one major drawback - he drank, often to excess and on a number of occasions during matches, but he was still able to bowl sides out and score hundreds while drunk. In Australia in 1886-87 he missed the second Test and some other matches after breaking his hand ... he had tried to punch Percy McDonnell, Australia's captain, but missed and instead hit a wall. Barnes had a deep dislike of authority and the social restrictions of the era. In 1884-85 in the third Test at Sydney, Barnes, sulking for reasons never established, simply refused to bowl in either innings despite the pleas of Arthur Shrewsbury, his captain (who referred to Barnes's alcoholic excesses as "visits to the land of the Golden Fleece"). Australia won the match by six runs.

Rashid Patel and Raman Lamba North Zone v West Zone, Duleep Trophy 1990-91
This was arguably the most infamous incident in the history of Indian domestic cricket. Lamba and Rashid had been needling each other throughout a fractious final, but it was on the final afternoon that tempers finally snapped. North Zone were already assured of the title having amassed a huge 729 for 9 in their first innings, with Lamba's 180 an integral performance. Rashid decided to take some measure of revenge. "It was senseless, yet far from unprovoked," wrote Wisden, as Rashid aimed a beamer at Lamba's head, then followed up by uprooting a stump and chasing the stunned batsman all the way to the boundary. A crowd riot ensued, unsurprisingly, and both men were banned for their actions, Rashid for 13 months and Lamba for ten. Tragically, in 1998, Lamba was killed on the cricket field, after being struck on the temple while fielding at short-leg in a club match in Bangladesh.



Mike Gatting and Shakoor Rana discuss where to eat after the close © Graeme Morris
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Mike Gatting Pakistan v England, Faisalabad, 1987-88
One of the game's nadirs, and an incident which sullied Anglo-Pakistan relations for some time. The events have been well documented, and the image of the finger-wagging Gatting in a head-to-head confrontation with Shakoor Rana has become an iconic sporting picture. The net result of the expletive-laden clash was that the whole of the third day's play was lost as the two protagonists - neither renowned for a willingness to compromise - stood their ground. Eventually Gatting's scribbled apology meant that the game resumed, but the damage lasted for years. One can only imagine what would have happened had it happened in the era of match referees and all-intrusive TV coverage.

Arjuna Ranatunga Sri Lanka v England, Adelaide, 1998-99
Four years after being no-balled by Darrell Hair, Ross Emerson, another Australian umpire, decided to get in on the act and did the same to Muttiah Muralitharan in a day-night match between England and Sri Lanka . Ranatunga was having none of it, and after a heated exchange with Emerson (who remarkably was off work from his day job with stress at the time) he led his side off the pitch. Sri Lanka's manager Ranjit Fernando and match referee Peter van der Merwe were summoned to the boundary edge where discussion took place and phone calls were made to the Sri Lankan board. Play eventually resumed after 14 minutes but the rest of the match took place in a testy atmosphere. Ranatunga exploited some poorly-drafted laws to escape with a six-month ban, suspended for two years, while Emerson was quickly sent packing.

Abdul Qadir West Indies v Pakistan, Barbados, 1987-88
Being abused from the stands is an occupational hazard and most players shrug and try to turn a deaf ear. At Bridgetown in 1987-88, however, Abdul Qadir was not quite so tolerant. Umpire David Archer turned down an appeal from Qadir, and was surrounded by pleading Pakistan players for his sins. At the end of the over Qadir snatched his cap from Archer and skulked down to fine leg where the locals delighted in jeering and taunting him. Unwisely and outnumbered, Qadir took them on in a verbal joust which ended with him climbing over the boundary fence and punching one of them Albert August. The local police, mindful that cricket is more important than such trivialities, waited until the end of the game before hauling Qadir down to the station. Behind-the-scenes diplomacy ended with the tour management making a contribution to police funds in return for charges being dropped.

Inzamam-ul-Haq India v Pakistan, Toronto, 1997-98
Inzamam is hardly one of the game's firebrands, and at times he appears so laid-back as to be comatose. But during a match in Toronto in September 1997, he snapped. After being endlessly mocked by a spectator who somehow had managed to remain ignored by security guards despite puerile abuse, largely based around his nickname "Aloo" (potato) and his religion, through a megaphone, Inzamam finally , snapped. Armed with a bat allegedly placed at the boundary edge by a compliant team-mate, Inzamam was sent from slip, where he had been all day, to the bolundary and almost immediately waded into the stands and thumped his tormenter. Fortunately, the crowd and security staff prevented him from landing any telling blows, but it was 40 minutes before play could resume amid the chaotic scenes. He was subsequently banned for two matches. Click here for more.



Disgraceful scenes at the WACA as Lillee and Miandad resort to playground tactics © The Cricketer
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Dennis Lillee and Javed Miandad Australia v Pakistan, Perth 1981-82
Combative, abrasive and among the greatest players of their generation, Lillee and Miandad could have been two peas from the same pod. Instead they developed into the bitterest of adversaries, and at Perth in November 1981 they became embroiled in what Wisden described as "one of the most undignified incidents in Test history". The blame, by common consent, lay with Lillee, although naturally each man offered a different version of events. The eyewitness account was that Miandad set off for a single, Lillee stepped into his path, and after a tangle of limbs and insults, the two were caught on camera primed for a full-on scrap - Lillee with his fist raised like a prize fighter, Miandad with his bat coiled like a cobra. Tony Crafter, the umpire, was a brave man to intervene. Lillee was fined Aus$200, later reduced to $120 plus a two-match ban. Lillee also had well-publicised on-field tantrums with Mike Brearley and Sunil Gavaskar.

Murphy Su'a New Zealand v South Africa
New Zealand's Su'a briefly promised to be a useful find but he struggled after a good start and his Test career fizzled out. The reasons that the selectors did not persevere become more understandable when the stories recounted by Ken Rutherford, at the time New Zealand's captain, are taken into consideration. Reacting a little testily to being dropped for an ODI, Su'a went into a sulk and refused to train before the game, and when asked to join his team-mates, Su'a, alleged Rutherford, called him a "white honky p****." The conversation continued for a few minutes along such cerebral lines before Su'a reluctantly did as he was told. Su'a continued to work hard for his place in the team by then trying to change his airline ticket so he could fly home later that day.

Chris Broad Pakistan v England, Lahore, 1987-88
Australia v England, Sydney, 1987-88
The ultimate poacher turned gamekeeper. There were more than a few raised eyebrows when Broad was elevated to the heights of becoming an ICC match referee, charged with imposing discipline on major matches. The same Broad who refused to leave the crease for more than a minute after being triggered by Shakeel Khan at Faisalabad in 1987-88. It was one of several shocking decisions by Shakeel, and TV replays showed the ball had missed the outside edge by inches, but it took the intervention of non-striker Gooch to persuade him to leave the middle. He completed his winter of discontent at Sydney when his impressive 139 in the Bicentennary Test ended with him dispatching his middle stump into the outback after being dismissed. He should have returned to the pavilion to warm applause ... as it was his slow walk off was accompanied by booing.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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