Cricket is more of being a religion in Indian than being regarded as a sport, like the way it has its Gods, similarly, it has its demons too. Like worship for a cricketer comes the hate for the others. You will be surprised to know that there are a handful of hated cricketers in India where the sport is a religion.
Gods like Tendulkar and Kohli are worshipped with utmost devotion while the demons come in various shapes and sizes, most importantly in the incarnations of a few chosen cricketers.
Like the way India holds ABD in the highest regards, similarly, they have their shares of hatred too towards a handful of cricketers. In this story, we will take a quick look at five international cricketers who bring out the worst in Indian fans.
#1 Andrew Symonds
Ever since the monkey gate scandal that involved Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, he took the vitriol between the Indian fans and himself to a different level. That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Symonds being a prolific all-rounder also picked up a handful of crucial wickets to dent the Indian middle-order. Sadly, the raptures that followed were a bit out of the world that illustrated him holding an ancient grudge against the Indians. Sreesanth paid him back in the same coin when he bested him in the 2007 T20 World Cup semi-final.
#2 Ricky Ponting
Punter is definitely a much-respected batsman when it comes to cricket but Indians held altogether an extraterrestrial amount of hostility towards him when it came to leading the Australian cricket team.
That infamous collision of India and Australia in 2007-08 led to a sequence of wrong decisions from Steve Bucknor and apparently it was Ponting who confirmed that the dismissals have taken place. Ganguly was furious when this happened but had to concede given the non-existence of DRS. In a particular incident, Srinath just wanted to know whether Punter was alright after the Indian pacer knocked him over with a nasty sweet-chin-music. Sadly, Ponting thought that it was an attempt to sledge him and asked Srinath to back down.
#3 Andrew Flintoff
The former English all-rounder left cricket to devote his time to boxing. However, when he was in the middle of the ground, he caught the attention of two Indian cricketers and it ended in flames for him. He ran around Wankhede, frenetically waving his jersey to celebrate England’s victory. This didn’t sit well with the Indians. Ganguly gave it back in the exact same coin as he waved his jersey after a remarkable victory in the Natwest final at the Mecca of cricket.
The second incident involved Flintoff threatening Yuvraj Singh. In fact, if rumours are to be believed, he said that he would slit Yuvraj’s throat with a blade. Sadly, for the English all-rounder, Yuvraj slaughtered Broad with six sixes in an over and eliminated England with superior performance in the 2007 World T20. Guess what, the fans made it a point to boo Flintoff if they ever got a chance. However, it never arrived as he stepped down from cricket.
#4 Javed Miandad
You may not really agree with this man being hated by Indian fans but there were a couple of incidents that didn’t really sit well with the Indian fans. In the first place, Miandad mocked Kiran More for appealing against him.
The second incident was a moment of pure cricketing brilliance and it was when he smacked Chetan Sharma for a colossal six into the stands. Not every Indian fan took it sportingly, mostly because it was of his animosity towards Pakistan’s arch-rivals.
#5 Shahid Afridi
Needless to say, but it seemed that India and Shahid Afridi were at loggerheads for more occasions than India was with Pakistan. The culmination of all the hatred and hostility arrived when Gambhir and Afridi engaged in a verbal spat that could have very well spiraled into a gutter war.
In an infamous statement, Afridi once claimed that Indian cricketers would implore Pakistan after they were defeated. Sadly, for him, this blew his image out of proportion amongst the Indian cricket fans and he was seen as a villain. More importantly, Gambhir left him rattled with a scintillating 75 that proved to be the bedrock of India’s victory in the 2007 World T20 final.