5 rival-pairs who were forced to play for the same team
Cricket might well be called a 'gentleman's game', but cricketers have not always got along as well as one would think. Over the years, there have been plenty of famous feuds that have often threatened to spiral out of control. Some of those feuds have even gone on for years.
However, feuds between players go to a whole new level if they are forced to play together and due to the presence of T20 leagues in addition to English County Cricket, that is very much a possibility. Over the years, plenty of cricketers who positively disliked each other were forced to play together on the same team and here is a look at 5 of those instances.
#5 Shikhar Dhawan-David Warner
As far as modern cricket rivalries are concerned, the one between India and Australia has been the highlight of world cricket for close to two decades. However, the rivalry is not only restricted to the on-field action. The cricketers on either team do not get along very well.
The openers on either side, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner, are not very chummy and that was quite evident during the finger-pointing episode in the Adelaide Test of 2014. Dhawan's finger-pointing at Warner threatened to blow up into a major controversy and both players were eventually fined.
However, at the moment, the two play together for the same IPL team, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and have been opening the innings for some time now without much trouble.
#4 Chris Gayle-Shane Watson
The Chris Gayle-Shane Watson feud goes back to 2009, when the Australian all-rounder stood in front of Gayle and celebrated right in the West Indian's face in the most ridiculous fashion imaginable. From then on, there has been no peace between the two.
The players traded barbs and were involved in on-field skirmishes in the next few years until Watson was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2016 IPL auctions. Ahead of the tournament, Watson acknowledged his past with his new team-mate Gayle and said, “That was the day we had to bury the hatchet (laughs), knowing that I was going to be playing with him. When you're competing on the field, as soon as things change and you're on the same team, everyone puts everything aside and moves forward.”
They seem to have put their differences behind them now and are getting along fine for RCB.
#3 Harbhajan Singh- Ricky Ponting
The bitter rivalry between Indian off-spin legend Harbhajan Singh and Australian batting great Ricky Ponting has been simmering since 1998. During the final of the Coca-Cola Cup in Sharjah, Harbhajan (then 18) and Ponting (then 23) had an ugly mid-pitch spat after the former dismissed the latter.
Over the years, it intensified as Harbhajan continued to dominate Ponting, in India and once in Australia, in some of the most ill-tempered Test series ever played. However, in 2013, Ponting joined the Mumbai Indians and played a few games alongside the Indian spinner. The bad blood looked to have subsided and Ponting even coached the side in the 2015 season where the pair got along well.
#2 Graeme Smith- Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen abandoned South Africa and switched over to England, and for this, he became a target of South African captain Graeme Smith. Pietersen slammed the racial quota system in South Africa that kept him out of the national team and called out Smith for his snide comments during England's visit to South Africa in 2004-05.
Pietersen went on to call him an 'absolute muppet'. Smith responded by stating that he should not be criticising South Africa. Smith said, "The only reason that Kevin and I have never had a relationship is that he slated South Africa. It was his decision to leave and that's fine, but why does he spend so much time slating our country?"
The pair exchanged barbs over the years, but in 2014 they were both forced to play for English County side Surrey and according to many, there were no fireworks. In fact, Smith even came out in Pietersen's support following his sacking from the England team in 2014.
#1 Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds
On-field spats, allegations of racial abuse, better known as 'Monkeygate', and then a judicial hearing. The Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds spat has to be one of the biggest in modern cricket history. The pair's confrontation threatened to completely destroy the relations between Cricket Australia and the BCCI.
Harbhajan was eventually acquitted of the charges of racial abuse, but the relations between the two cricketers and the teams took a long time to recover. Three years after the infamous 'Monkeygate' episode, Symonds got a contract from Mumbai Indians and the two bitter rivals were forced to play together. Although there were no incidents, it is hard to accept that they put the past behind them.