England and Pakistan will be meeting for a 3 Test and 5 ODI Match series. So far, preparations for the series have been smooth for both sides. England will be out to defend their status as the world’s number 1 team and will look to prove a point by performing well in alien conditions. Pakistan, on the other hand, would be looking to build on their success of the past year and enhance their reputation further.
Both Andrew Strauss and Misbah Ul Haq are cool individuals and have been playing down any chances of controversy during the series. However, fans from around the world know very well that when England meets Pakistan on the cricket field, controversies are never far behind. Here’s a look at some of the major controversies that have plagued the relationships of these cricketing giants over the past decades.
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1. Shakoor Rana vs Mike Gatting 1987 – Fingers and Apologies
Being 1-0 down in their away Test Series against Pakistan in 1987, an under pressure England captain Mike Gatting got himself involved in a high profile drama, with Pakistani Umpire Shakoor Rana, that almost got the tour cancelled.
In a bizarre turn of events, umpire Shakoor Rana called Mike Gatting a f***ing cheat on his insistence to move his fielders during the bowler’s run up. Gatting returned the favor in equally fearsome manner and his finger wagging picture while shouting at Shakoor Rana made headlines worldwide. Shakoor Rana demanded an official apology and halted play until then. Finally, after losing the whole 3rd day of play and government intervention of the highest level, the series continued towards its logical conclusion.
2. Botham, His Mother in Law and Pakistan – 1983
Ian Botham was never shy of openly expressing his views and, naturally, controversies always him both on and off the cricket field. In 1983, after being forced to fly back home from Pakistan during the Test Series between Pakistan and England, Botham’s views once again sparked controversy.
“the kind of place to send your mother-in-law for a month, all expenses paid”; This is how he described Pakistan, for which he eventually had to apologize. Less than a decade later Botham ate his words when a certain Wasim Akram got rid of him for a duck in the World Cup 92 final and Amir Sohail asked him “Who’s coming in next? Your mother-in-law?”
3. Wasim, Waqar, Reverse Swing and Ball Tampering – 1992
By 1992, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis used to bowl Reverse Swing as a hobby. The Englishmen, however, found it hard to digest. As processions of English batsmen started making their way back to the pavilion, the English media waged a war on the legendary Pakistani Swing Kings that has never really settled since. Wasim and Waqar, along with other Pakistani players, were at the center of Ball Tampering accusations from the English Media and Players. England’s case, however, was rubbished off by their own batting legend Sir Geoffrey Boycott when he termed English batsmen as incapable and that Pakistani bowlers would get them out even if they bowled with oranges!
4. Alone in the Dark! – Moin Khan gives away the Karachi Fortress – 2000
When Pakistan collapsed in the 3rd innings of the Karachi Test against England, they were in danger of losing a Test Match at the National Stadium for the first time in 39 years. The Pakistani captain, Moin Khan, was in no mood to get his name in the record books for the wrong reasons and tried every tactic to slow down the game to an eventual draw. Umpire Steve Bucknor, however, ruined Moins plans and allowed play to go on in near darkness as England secured one of their most famous wins.
5. The Oval Fiasco 2006 – First Forfeited test in History
Not many thought that a man as laid back as Inzimam Ul Haq would be at the center of cricket’s first forfeited Test Match in 129 Years. When Umpire Darrell Hair accused Team Pakistan of Ball Tampering and awarded five penalty runs to England, Pakistan Captain Inzimam Ul Haq protested without much success. However, when the teams went for the tea break, few predicted what was to follow. In a completely unexpected turn of events, Inzi along with the rest of the Pakistan team, refused to come back to the field in protest against the ball tampering charges. Umpires Billy Doctrove and Darrell Hair waited for a while and then awarded the match to England, the fist such instance in 129 years.
6. Boom Boom Afridi Dances on Pitch – 2005
Being the innocent guy he is, Afridi usually finds unique ways of serving his team. On this occasion, assuming a considerable lack of attention from his surroundings, Afridi decided to try a few dance moves on the cricket pitch. The cameras, however, were watching and so was Kevin Pieterson. Afridi got penalized for his innocence and Pakistan’s image suffered a further dent.
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7. The 3 idiots – Spot Fixing Scandal 2010
Very rarely has the world seen talents such as Amir and Asif together on the cricket field. It’s a pity, however, that they will never be seen together again. When Amir and Asif overstepped, while bowling, with inconceivably large margins, under the supervision of their leader in crime Salman Butt, Pakistan cricket fell into the dirtiest sporting controversy in its history. The 3 cricketers were eventually banned and later convicted of criminal charges in the UK and are now serving their sentences behind bars.