India and South Africa are somewhere on neutral grounds when it comes to cricketing relations, neither team considers the other as fierce rivals nor there are overly friendly relations between the two nations. If anything, the two seem to like each other if the friendship between Royal Challengers teammates Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers is any barometer to go by.
One must not forget that it was a South African coach in the shape of Gary Kirsten who led India to World Cup glory, thanks to his cool and composed tactics. But that doesn't mean that there wasn't any beef ever between the two nations. As India prepares to lock horns once again vs South Africa in the ICC Champions Trophy, let us look back at the four controversies between India and South Africa which forever tainted the competition between the two nations featuring Sachin's ban.
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In what is being dubbed as quarterfinals between the two nations, India and South Africa will be playing a do or die match this Sunday (June 11th, 2017), the winner advances to the Semi Finals of the ICC Champions Trophy. One thing for certain, friendships will be forgotten during those 100 overs and Virat Kohli would do anything to win his first ever ICC honor as a captain.
Build up aside, let's look back at the four controversies b/w India and South Africa
Hansie Cronje was a livewire, to say the least. His playing style was eye catchy and during the years of his captaincy, South Africa was making progress as their golden generation was coming to shape. This made Hansie Cronje a national hero but things soon took a turn for the worse for him.
It all started when he was introduced to an Indian bookmaker known as 'John' by none another than Mohammad Azharuddin the former Indian captain. Over the years Cronje and John kept in touch and he received bribes totalling about £65,000. Being the captain he asked various South African players to underperform, the names included Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis, Lance Klusener, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams.
While Boucher, Kallis, and Klusener refused to cooperate, Gibbs and Williams did even though they weren't paid. After New Delhi police uncovered the scandal, Cronje lost captaincy and later on sadly, died in a plane crash in 2002 while Gibbs and Williams refused to visit Indian shores until 2007.
This comes from a period when in the 21st century, Indian cricket was in its darkest state. The team was under performing, the boardroom politics were being unearthed and spearheading all of the problems was the master of divide and rule – the Aussie legendary cricketer Greg Chappell.
Since the moment Chappell arrived, he used his influence and power to not only remove the Bengal Tiger – Sourav Ganguly from captaincy but also from the first team. But it all peaked on one tempestuous day at the Eden Gardens.
Sourav Ganguly aka the Bengal Tiger was a local hero in Kolkata. Dada always embraces those roots and when he arrived at the Eden Gardens, the 90,000 strong crowd let Chappell know their feelings when India played South Africa and lost by 10 wickets.
A frustrated mob, combine that with their local hero being discriminated against by the villain of Indian Cricket at that time and we have a recipe for disaster. After the match when Team India was leaving the stadium, the crowd around the team bus started anti-Chappell chants and Chappell, the kind of Type A personality he is, didn't shy away from showing his middle finger towards the crowd.
Although Chappell was given little retrospective punishments, this was one of the darker moments in Indian cricket history and it came against South Africa.
This comes from a time when the cricket pitches weren't curated with much scrutiny as ICC do it these days. This allowed Indians flexibility to alter the pitch to suit their needs and alter the pitch they did. In 2008, during a more darker phase in Indian Cricket, South Africa visited India for a 3 match test series of which the first was drawn, the second India lost by an embarrassing innings and 90 runs and in the third, were prepared to do anything to draw the series.
So at Kanpur, India made sure the pitch resembled more of a dust bowl rather than an actual cricket pitch. Initially, it seemed the move backfired but Dada stepped up the ante while Virender Sehwag, went 3/12 in bowling figures, making India victors by 8 wickets.
After the match, referee Roshan Mahanama complained to ICC about the dryness of the pitch while saying the pitch didn't resemble test match standards. ICC took note and punished BCCI for the same.
In what should've been a routine day for Indian Cricket turned upside down when the match referee Mike Denness - Ex-England Cricketer, decided to complain the ICC about two events that certainly troubled him.
This one surrounded Harbhajan Singh whose excessive appealing which caught up with other teammates and unchecked by then the Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, landed them in trouble. Harbhajan Singh, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Deep Dasgupta and Shiv Sunder Das, were suspended for one match due to excessive appealing.
It's commonly said people can forget what you did to them, but not how you made them feel. And the feelings of a billion people were certainly hurt when their 'God' Sachin Tendulkar was handed one test ban following ball tampering allegations.
On the third day, Sachin bowled four overs and when the cameras zoomed in on his hand, it seemed that he was working on the seam with his thumb and forefinger of the left hand.
Later on, it was uncovered that Sachin was just cleaning the bowl but by then the outrage went into overdrive. Dennis' effigies were burnt, and he was sacked immediately by the ICC following the events.
Till this date, this remains the darkest event to happen in an India vs South Africa match.