Cricinfo XI

Temper, temper Part 2

As expected, our recent column on players losing the plot drew a large number of responses. Here, we've compiled a second XI of memorable moments when tempers were lost on the field of play

Martin Williamson and Andrew Miller

October 3, 2006

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As expected, our recent column on players losing the plot drew a large number of responses. Here, we've compiled a second XI of memorable moments when tempers were lost on the field of play



Kim Hughes: not overly concerned about Trinidadian cricket © Getty Images
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Kim Hughes Trinidad v Australians, 1983-84
Tantrums are usually short and spectacular, but Hughes, Australia's captain, went to town during a tour match in Trinidad. The whole trip was conducted in a sour atmosphere. Hughes was unhappy with the squad he had been given and there was unease with some of the umpiring. Trinidad set the Australians a gettable 189 off about 24 overs on the last day, but Hughes wasn't having any of it. Promoting himself up the order, he opened the innings with Greg Matthews and proceeded to block. It was the 17th over of the innings, after an hour, before he got off the mark with a massive six. With Matthews copying his captain at the other end, all runs were refused. As the situation deteriorated, Matthews was seen at the non-striker's end adjusting his thigh-pad with his trousers at half-mast while the bowler was delivering the ball. As is the custom, with no prospect of a result the umpires offered to end play half-an-hour early; Hughes refused and continued blocking. He finished on 10 not out (a four being his only other scoring shot) and then when asked at the post-match press conference about the effect his actions might have on the game locally, replied that he could not care less about the welfare of Trinidad & Tobago cricket. Click here for more

Viv Richards/Steve Rixon/Allan Border Australia v West Indies, Sydney, 1984-85
The two sides came to the final Test of the tour with Wisden noting that "relations between the teams [were] already strained following incidents earlier in the series". That strain increased on the third day when a vociferous appeal for a bat-pad catch by Graeme Wood against Richards was turned down. Wicketkeeper Steve Rixon charged down the pitch to remonstrate with the umpire and then became embroiled in a row with Richards, with Allan Border rushing in from cover to pour fuel on the flames. The umpires reported all three for using abusive language and bringing the game into disrepute. The Australians were tried by three of their colleagues - Wood, Andrew Hilditch and Kepler Wessels - and unsurprisingly found not guilty, with Richards being blamed for the whole thing. It was claimed that Richards had offered to settle the spat behind the pavilion, an offer the pair wisely rejected. It was a memorable Test for Border who had tried, with Geoff Lawson, to start a strike ahead of the second day in protest at Lawson being fined Aus$2000 for bad behaviour in the previous Test.

Sylvester Clarke Pakistan v West Indies, Multan, 1980-81
The deciding Test of a fractious series was already warming up after some contentious umpiring decisions when Sylvester Clarke, fielding on the fine-leg boundary, was struck by an orange thrown from the crowd. That was the final straw, as other objects, including small stones, had been landing near him for some time. Clearly angry, he picked up a brick which was used to mark the boundary and lobbed it into the spectators where it struck 22-year-old Shafiq Ahmed, a student, on the head. Shafiq was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery while the crowd, understandably inflamed, showered the retreating Clarke with objects. Play was delayed for 20 minutes while order was restored. Clarke was subsequently banned for three matches, while the ICC secretary, who was attending as a neutral observer, described it as "a most unfortunate happening". Click here for more



Dennis Lillee, never far from a scrap, argues the legality of his aluminium bat © Getty Images
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Dennis Lillee Australia v England, Perth, 1979-80
Lillee (again) was at the centre of the storm, and this time his petulance owed as much to commercialism as any sense of being wronged. Lillee and a partner had devised an aluminum bat, cheap to make and sell, and what better stage to market this than an Anglo-Australian Test? The trouble was - aside from a nasty clunk when leather hit metal - that Mike Brearley, England's captain, immediately objected claiming the ball was being damaged. A ten-minute stand-off ensued as Lillee refused to budge, which only ended when Greg Chappell arrived with a more conventional blade. Lillee hurled the aluminum bat into the distance and begrudgingly resumed. Remarkably, he escaped any censure for his histrionics. Sales of the bat briefly boomed, but MCC soon poured cold water on the venture by banning bats made of anything other than wood. Click here for more

Aaqib Javed England v Pakistan, Old Trafford, 1992
Pakistan's tour of England in 1992 was a flashpoint waiting to happen, and inevitably, it was an umpiring intervention that lit the blue touchpaper. When Aaqib Javed, an excitable 19-year-old fast bowler, unleashed a torrent of bouncers at England's inept No. 11, Devon Malcolm, umpire Roy Palmer decided it was time to warn Aaqib for intimidatory bowling. Aaqib however ignored the ruling and, egged on by his captain, the ever-incendiary Javed Miandad, he petulantly sent down two further short balls before the end of the over. At the change-over, Palmer went to return Aaqib's sweater to the bowler, but as he did so, the garment got caught in the loops of his white coat and was eventually delivered in a ruffled heap. This was too much for a fuming Aaqib, who felt the gesture had not been made with due courtesy. He threw the sweater to the floor and kicked it away, an act that eventually cost him 50% of his match fee, though not before the ICC match referee, Conrad Hunte - aware of the hyper-sensitivity of the situation - had deliberated for almost 24 hours. Ironically, Aaqib dismissed Malcolm with a slow yorker in his next over.

Shane Warne Australia v South Africa, Johannesburg, 1993-94
Australia's first tour of South Africa in 24 years turned into a public relations disaster, thanks to the inexplicably boorish behaviour of Merv Hughes and principally, Shane Warne. Having begun the first Test at The Wanderers as the new golden boy of the world game, Warne finished it with a double fine, one handed out by the ICC match referee, Donald Carr, and another, stiffer, penalty imposed by his own embarrassed board. Perhaps frustrated after being held back until the 44th over of the second innings, Warne lost the plot entirely upon bowling Andrew Hudson for 60, and pursued the hapless batsman - by common consent, one of the nicest and gentlest men in the game - almost to the boundary's edge while unleashing a stream of invective. Hughes added to Australia's shameful display as he was hauled before the beak for the third time in 15 matches, but it was South Africa who delivered the most potent punishment of all - a 197-run defeat.

Glenn McGrath Australia v West Indies, Antigua, 2002-03
The series was out of reach and so too, it seemed, was the fourth Test, as West Indies chased a world-record 418 for victory. But all the while that Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul were compiling their centuries on a typical Antigua featherbed, Australia's bowlers had a faint sense of foreboding. Ultimately, Glenn McGrath's composure snapped when Sarwan responded to a volley of abuse with a quip about his opponent's wife. Standard fare in ordinary circumstances, but with McGrath's wife undergoing treatment for cancer, Sarwan had strayed into taboo territory. None of this was known to the viewers, however, as pictures flashed around the world of McGrath wagging his index finger at Sarwan before taking out his fury on umpire Shepherd as well. As the Australian board told its players to "behave themselves", Steve Waugh later admitted that was the moment that the Test was lost.

Sunil Gavaskar Australia v India, Melbourne, 1980-81



Lillee explains to a furious Sunil Gavaskar where the ball struck his pads © Getty Images
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The first forfeiture in the history of Test cricket occurred at The Oval back in August but, 25 years ago at Melbourne, Sunil Gavaskar might have precipitated a similar incident, had it not been for the swift intervention of India's team manager, Shahid Durrani. Gavaskar had just been given out lbw to Dennis Lillee and was not happy about it, believing he'd got a faint inside-edge. As he remonstrated with all and sundry, Lillee hurtled down the pitch to point out the exact spot on his pad where the ball had struck, and offered a choice comment or two into the bargain. Gavaskar snapped, and persuaded his bemused partner, Chetan Chauhan, to leave the field with him. It was only when Durrani met them at the gate that Chauhan about-turned and returned to the middle.
Click here for more

Julian Wood and Guy Randall-Johnson Dorset v Hampshire, Bournemouth, 2006
More disputed lbw decisions, this time at Minor County level. When Berkshire's captain, Julian Wood, was given out lbw for 0 by umpire Guy Randall-Johnson, he was not best pleased and let the umpire know as much. At lunch, the umpire packed his bags and went home in a huff. According to the Dorset Echo, he felt he was owed an apology but it soon became clear there would not be one. Cliff Pocock, the other umpire, had to stand at both ends for the rest of the day, and Peter Kingston-Davey came out of retirement to officiate on the second day. "It seems that Guy left the ground because he felt he had lost the confidence of the players," MCCA competitions secretary Philip August told The Daily Telegraph. "We cannot have players behaving unacceptably towards umpires and we cannot have umpires walking out of games at lunchtime." Dorset went on to win the match by an innings and 91 runs inside two days.

Colin Croft New Zealand v West Indies, Christchurch, 1979-80
It had been a grumpy tour from start to acrimonious finish, with Michael Holding booting stumps out of the ground at Dunedin, and a general air of dissent colouring the West Indian body language throughout. But no-one got the hump more dramatically than Colin Croft, who appealed for a fatuous caught-behind against Richard Hadlee and swore at the umpire, Fred Goodall, when the decision was returned in the negative. Both umpires spoke to West Indies' captain, Clive Lloyd, who showed no interest in calming the situation, and when Croft was no-balled for his umpteenth bouncer, he first knocked the bails off with his hand, then dropped his shoulder as he approached for his next delivery and barged straight into the startled official. Even after this assault, Lloyd refused to remove Croft from the attack but Hadlee ended the stand-off by clattering 15 runs off his next over.

Mark Vermeulen Prince Edward High, Zimbabwe
Best to finish where we started this two-part column. Vermeulen's latest tantrum is far from being an isolated incident. He was sent home from the 2003 tour of England for a series of misdemeanors, including refusing to field the ball at Hove because it was too cold. He showed his potential when, as a 13-year-old, he was given out leg before in a school match. His response was to rip up all three stumps and take them with him to the dressing-room where he locked himself in and refused to come back out, in so doing bringing the game to a premature end. He was subsequently banned by Prince Edward High.

Martin Williamson is managing editor and Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo

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