The Indian cricket team has established itself as a force to reckon with on the international cricket scene, having won the Cricket World Cup twice and numerous other trophies and championships. Indian cricketers have always been loved and cherished by their fans and there is no other sport that has such widespread popularity. When India wins any major match or trophy, the celebrations pour down to the streets of most towns and cities in the country. This is a real spectacle to watch and it highlights the popularity of the game in India. However, despite its glorious past, there have also been some embarrassing moments in the history of Indian cricket. Here are some of the most disgraceful moments of Indian cricket that die-hard fans would certainly not want to talk about or discuss.
Gavaskar’s 36 off 174: Sunil Gavaskar was a great cricketer in the Tests with an average of 51.12 in 125 matches. However, his record in ODIs is not so good, with an average of just 35.13. The lowest point in his ODI career came in 1975 during the first Cricket World Cup. India was playing England at the Lord’s and England batted first to score a massive 334 runs. The required run rate was quite high, but strangely, Gavaskar made just 36 off 174 balls and remained not-out till the end. India lost by 202 runs and it turned out to be one of the most disgraceful moments in Indian cricket. The disgrace was more because of the fact that Gavaskar did not seem to try to score runs at a fast pace. Till date, there is no valid explanation as to why Gavaskar did not attempt to chase the huge score put up by England.
Greg vs. Ganguly: Sourav Ganguly was not too happy after former Australian captain Greg Chappell became the coach of the Indian cricket team in 2005. It was alleged that Greg made too many changes, which did not go well with the senior players. Greg openly criticized Sourav Ganguly and he even showed his middle finger to Sourav inside the team bus. Greg also did not take inputs from Sourav or other team members. The war between Greg and Sourav continued for many months and eventually resulted in Sourav getting axed. Greg too could not go far, as his tenure ended in 2007, after India was ousted in the first round of 2007 World Cup.
Bloodbath at Barbados: The third Test between India and West Indies at Bridgetown, Barbados in 1997 is considered as a dark day in the Indian cricket history. The Indian team was being led by Sachin Tendulkar and needed just 120 runs to win the match. However, the Indian batting order crashed dramatically owing to some superior bowling by Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop and Franklin Rose. The Indian team was dismissed for only 81, leading to one of the most disgraceful moments in Indian cricket history. It was also one of the worst days for Sachin’s captaincy career.
1996 World Cup semi-final: Indian fans had high hopes for the 1996 World Cup, as Sachin was in great form at the peak of his career. And the master blaster did not disappoint, as his contributions ensured India’s entry to the semi-finals. But things changed at the 1996 World Cup semi-final match with Sri Lanka, as skipper Mohammad Azharuddin decided to bowl first after winning the toss. This in itself was considered a bad move and there were allegations of Azharuddin’s involvement in match fixing. However, the real disgrace came when the Indian batting order crashed dramatically, reaching 120/8. The Indian players appeared totally lost and there was no hope left. The crowd at Eden Gardens was hugely disappointed and it started burning placards and throwing bottles in the ground. The match was subsequently abandoned and Sri Lanka was declared the winner. Vinod Kambli was seen leaving the stadium with tears in his eyes.
Kumble vs. Kohli: The differences between coach Anil Kumble and skipper Virat Kohli were given tremendous publicity in the media. Kumble had a good record as the coach of the Indian cricket team, but things changed ahead of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. The rift between Kumble and Kohli was out in the open and eventually it forced Kumble to step down from his post. This happened just a day before Kumble’s official contract was due to expire. Kumble later admitted that there were differences between him and Kohli. The open disagreement between two great players was a disgraceful moment in the history of Indian cricket.
54 All Out: This disgraceful moment came during the final of the 2000 Coco-Cola Champions Trophy at Sharjah. The Indian team was chasing Sri Lanka’s huge score of 300 to win the match, but it was devastated by the aggressive bowling of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan. The entire Indian team was dismissed for just 54 runs, which allowed Sri Lanka to win the match by a massive 245 runs. The disgrace is even more profound, when we look at Sanath Jayasuriya’s score of 189. This is more than three times of what the entire team India scored on that day.
8 Successive Test defeats: 2011 was the year when India won the Cricket World Cup for the second time. Certainly, the Indian cricket team deserved all the love and adulation of the fans. However, later that year, the Indian cricket team faced a major drought, as it lost 4 consecutive test matches during their England tour. A few months later, the drought continued, as they again lost 4-0 to Australia.
IPL match fixing: IPL has been a welcome development for cricketers and fans alike. However, IPL witnessed a dark day in 2013, when three players, S Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested on charges of match fixing. The owners of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were also said to be involved in illegal betting activities. The BCCI decided to ban the players for life and the two franchises were suspended for two years.
The Hansie Cronje revelations: After South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje was caught in match fixing, he accepted his involvement and also named other cricketers including Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and batsman Ajay Jadeja. The involvement of top Indian cricketers came as a shock to fans and the cricket community. Azhar was banned for life and Jadeja was suspended for five years. The involvement of top Indian cricketers in match fixing was termed as the worst hour for Indian cricket.