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Dressing room feuds - what happens here stays here.
by Gulu Ezekiel
Jun 04, 2005
Pakistan’s cricket soap-opera has taken another weird twist with tales of pushing and shoving between Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq in the Bridgetown dressing room. This is nothing new really as the history of cricket in Pakistan is full of such ego clashes.

Read the autobiographies of such greats as Hanif Mohammed, AH Kardar and Fazal Mahmood (recently expired) and you will know that the feuds are not a rarity. There have been numerous instances in the past of cricketers coming to blows in the dressing room.

Pakistanis are not alone however, as cricket history is full of dressing room feuds.

The majority of these fights however do not get known to the public due to the cricketers’ code of silence. What happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room is their mantra. Or at least most of the time.

Sunil Gavaskar recounted in his 1976 autobiography 'Sunny Days' how wicket-keeper Farrokh Engineer and all-rounder Syed Abid Ali almost came to blows in the dressing room. This was during the 1975 Prudential World Cup match against East Africa at Leeds with the bowler accusing the ‘keeper of spilling catches. India won the match by 10 wickets.

“As soon as the team came in for lunch the fireworks started. It was more like a bout between Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier, the difference being both threatened each other with bats. Unfortunately, for the bat manufacturers, the stronger bat was never found out, because the other members of the team intervened and stopped the quarrel from proceeding further,” according to the book.

That match was incidentally the only one won by India in two editions of the World Cup till their stunning triumph in 1983.

It was on the 1980-81 tour to Australia and New Zealand that the Indian dressing was once again witness to an ugly brawl. According to eye-witness reports, this time it was opener Chetan Chauhan and fast bowler Yograj Singh (father of Yuvraj) who indulged in fisticuffs.

The fight was kept under wraps for a quarter of a century till it was recently revealed in an article by a veteran Indian journalist who was reporting on that tour. Yograj played the lone Test of his career in New Zealand while Chauhan never represented India again after the twin- tour.

One incident played out in full view of the public was when Javed Miandad and Dennis Lillee had to be separated by umpire Tony Crafter in the Test match at Perth in 1981. Lillee had blocked Miandad’s path while he was taking a run and the Pakistan captain responded by spanking the bowler on his backside. The photo of the two of them squaring up - Lillee with fists upraised and Miandad with bat in the air - has become one of the most memorable (and squalid) in cricket history.

Put a bunch of competitive and often hot-headed young men together for weeks and the cracks can begin to show when they are under pressure. Pakistan’s cricketers though take the cake in this department!

More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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