Cricket is the most loved sport in India without a doubt. Ever since the 1983 World Cup victory, the rise of cricket in India has been astonishing. Almost every fan invests their emotions and opinions into this sport. The passion that Indian fans carry for Indian and overseas cricketers is perhaps unparalleled in the world of sports.
That being said, anything that a cricketer does on or off the field is closely followed. If an overseas player does well against India, there’s some sort of animosity towards that player. If a player speaks out against Team India or any of its players, their names will forever be remembered in the ‘bad guys’ list.
Here we take a look at 10 such cricketers who are mostly disliked in India:
10) Andrew Symonds
Its hard to forget this name for Indians. He has generally done very well against India. Symonds averages more than 40 in the ODI and the Test format. The reason he’s disliked however, is not because of his cricketing exploits.
Symonds was involved in the famous ‘Monkey-gate’ scandal. During the 2007-08 Test series against India, he got into a heated exchange with Harbhajan Singh. There was an official court hearing at Adelaide’s Federal Court building.
Ponting, Hayden, and Clarke appeared as witnesses for Symonds and claimed that Harbhajan had called Symonds a Monkey during a game. Eventually, ICC appeals commissioner Justice John Hansen found Harbhajan ‘not guilty’ of racially abusing Symonds. Following the verdict, the dislike towards the all-rounder began.
9) Shahid Afridi
Afridi is considered as a very likable chap in his country. When it comes to India however, opinions change drastically. The all-rounder has made a lot of disrespectful comments towards the Indian team.
The spiciest of them all is the fact that he claimed a few Indian players would come and ask for forgiveness following a loss against Pakistan. He has had an altercation with Gautam Gambhir during an ODI.
Most recently, Afridi was involved in a Q&A session with his fans on Twitter. When a Twitter user asked him a question regarding his poor performance against India in World Cups, Afridi cheekily mentioned ‘Indian team was lucky’. This obviously didn’t sit well with Indian fans.
8) Sarfaraz Ahmed
Another Pakistani who doesn’t necessarily receive adulation from the Indian crowds is Sarfaraz Ahmed. The former skipper is most loved in Pakistan as he led his team to victory in the 2017 Champions Trophy Final against India. The defeat was extremely humiliating as India were defeated by a whopping 180 runs.
Add to that his past statements about the Indian team, Sarfaraz surely doesn’t hold back when it comes to India. In a conversation with Samaa TV, Sarfaraz claimed:
“It’s always Pakistan who have come forward to play with India and they should respond positively. Perhaps India are afraid of facing Pakistan which is why they don’t play against us. It’s always fun to play in a match against India. We will try to win against India in the Champions Trophy but the main thing is for the team to fight for success against all teams.”
7) Andre Nel
Nel is famous for his expressions on the field. The South-African paceman is guilty of a lot of things off the field. He was caught smoking marijuana during a tour of the West Indies. A couple of years later in 2003, Nel was pulled over for drunk driving.
On the field, he’s famous for being part of an incident with Indian pacer S. Sreesanth. Being the animated character he is, Sreesanth didn’t back down. After a few stare-downs from Nel, Sreesanth smashes a six and celebrated wildly.
There were a couple of dance moves thrown in there by Sreesanth trying to get on Nel’s nerves. Eventually, things boiled down but the damage to Nel’s reputation in India was done.
6) Steve Smith
The Australian talisman is not generally disliked due to his antics but more so because of his staggering records against India. Steve Smith averages 72.58 against India in Tests, that’s studded with eight centuries in 14 matches altogether.
These are his second-best number against a country, following an even better record against West Indies. Not to mention the fact that Smith scored a stunning 95-ball century against India in the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup. This brought down the curtains on India’s run at the tournament.
Most recently, he was involved in a controversy during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Although the incident was termed to be much bigger than it actually was, the hostility from Indians towards Smith became apparent.
5) Andrew Flintoff
The English all-rounder has a big presence on the field, literally and metaphorically. He was a vital part of the English squad that famously won the 2005 Ashes series. However, his general attitude has come under the scanner more often than not.
Following the team’s victory in the sixth ODI of a series between India and England, Flintoff famously removed his shirt while waving it around during a victory lap. This triggered the even more famous Ganguly incident at the Lord’s balcony.
Flintoff was also involved in a major altercation with Yuvraj Singh during the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup. He allegedly threatened to ‘cut Yuvraj’s throat off’. As expected, it wasn’t well-received by the Indian fans.
4) Javed Miandad
The Pakistani wicket-keeper batsman is arguably one of the greatest cricketers from his nation. Javed Miandad was an aggressive player, who didn’t hold back from portraying his emotions on the field.
In an incident that sounds arrogant, Miandad once asked Dilip Doshi’s room number in order to hit the ball to his room. In a 1992 World Cup encounter, he mimicked Kiran More citing over-appealing.
His celebration following the famous last-ball six that helped Pakistan beat India in an Austral-Asia cup final irked a lot of Indians. Miandad also stated that the Indians would forget Sachin Tendulkar post his retirement.
3) Ricky Ponting
Ponting captained one of the greatest teams of all time. Under his leadership, Australia flourished in all formats. His captaincy style followed a ‘victory no matter what template. As a result, he’s come to be disliked in India.
Ponting was responsible for causing massive heartbreak for Indians after his blazing century in the 2003 World Cup final against India. The Indian team had a stellar run-up to the final but were blown away owing to Ponting’s 140*.
Although Ponting’s case is similar to that of Steve Smith, there have been a few incidents where the former skipper has crossed the line. One such incident was during the ‘Monkey-gate’ scandal involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. He drew a lot of flak from the Indians following his comments on that.
2) Greg Chappell
The Australian great has an envious record on the field. He played during the great West Indian bowling era, without much of protective gear. His reputation with Indians however, isn’t something he’ll happily look back on.
During a coaching stint with the Indian cricket team, Chappell was involved in an ugly spat with then-skipper Sourav Ganguly. The dressing room atmosphere was completely sour when Chappell was at the helm.
India’s infamous exit from the 2007 ODI World Cup is mainly attributed to Chappell. ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar even mentioned it in his autobiography. Chappell is also blamed for the downfall of Irfan Pathan.
1) Mushfiqur Rahim
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that the Bangladeshi wicket-keeper batsman Mushfiqur Rahim takes the top spot. Despite having played plenty of years at the top level, Rahim tends to come off as immature and childish.
During the 2016 T20 World Cup quarterfinal, Rahim famously celebrated before crossing the finish line against India. This came back to bite him as India eventually held their nerve and sparked wild celebrations among the fans.
The situation worsened when Rahim posted a celebratory picture mocking India for their defeat to West Indies in the semifinal. This wasn’t received lightly by the Indian fans and Rahim has since become the most disliked person in India.