Down memory lane: Top 10 infamous Captain v Coach fights

Sudipta / 01 December 2015

The success of a cricket team depends on the state of the dressing room and the relation between players and coaching staff. After winning 2011 World Cup, India coach Garry Kirsten proudly said if he goes to war he would like Indian limited over captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni by his side. Former Protea Kirsten’s statement reflected the warm relationship between him and the Indian limited over the captain.

But, cricket has seen some bitter relationships between players and coaching staff that affected a team’s dressing room atmosphere during games.

Here are the top 10 infamous Captain v coach fights

1) Sourav Ganguly v Greg Chappell

Both are legends of the game in their own right. They have played the game with their head held high. But, when they shared the dressing room they never made it a comfortable journey.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and legendary Australian batsman Greg Chappell have shared a willy-nilly relationship. Coach Chappell wanted Sourav to step down for the benefit of the team in 2005 when Indian team were touring Zimbabwe. Before the first Test, captain Ganguly asked Greg whom he should choose between Yuvraj and Kaif. Greg said both should play the game and he should step down from captaincy and sit out from the match. The feud started from there. Ganguly was ready to leave the tour.But, he opened the pandora box in the press conference as he said he had been asked to step down.

They were hurried to patch up. But, as the series ended Chappell has sent an email to BCCI which was leaked to the media. Chappell  said that Ganguly was not “mentally and physically” fit to lead the side.

Ganguly was later stripped off from the captaincy and dropped from the side for the One Day International series South Africa. An angry Eden Gardens crowd booed the Indian team and cheered for the opposition in November. The crowd burned the effigies and staging protests. An Odisha fan also slapped Greg.

The seeds of distrust were sown with the final chapter being the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, where India eliminated in the first round and Chappell handed his resignation letter.  

2) Brian Lara v Clive Lloyd

The clamour between West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its players is not new. In 1998, nine players of West Indies, including Lara and Carl Hooper, the vice-captain, informed manager Lloyd that they would be heading to London instead of Johannesburg in November 1998. The WICB stripped off Lara and Hooper from their positions and the rest. But, the few players who arrived in Johannesburg ignored Lloyd’s plea and marched to London “to show solidarity”.

Cricket South Africa chief Ali Bacher and Lloyd flew to London, after several negotiations  and letters from Nelson Mandela players agreed to play the series. WICB reinstatement of Lara and Hooper. But, South Africa humiliated West Indies 5-0 in Tests and 6-1 in the ODIs. WICB summoned Lara and Lloyd to explain the performance. The board in a lengthy public statement blamed Lara, Llyod and Malcolm Marshall, the coach for failing as leaders.

3) Sachin Tendulkar v Kapil Dev

It was the one of the high profile conundrums between two legendary Indian cricketers- Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. Sachin was not impressed with Kapil’s coaching method. Sachin revealed in his autobiography Playing It My Way that he was not happy with Kapil’ coaching during his second stint as captain in November 1999. Tendulkar stated that he was looking forward to working with legendary allrounder Kapil Dev.  “I have always maintained that the coach’s job is an important one, for he is in a position to play a key role in formulating team strategy.

“However, his method of involvement and his thought process was limited to leaving the running of the team to the captain, and hence he did not involve himself in strategic discussions that would help us on the field,” wrote Tendulkar. He gave up the captaincy after a series of failures in 2000.

4) Kevin Pietersen v Peter Moores

The pair has begun their journey with 4-0 ODI series win over South Africa. But, the things have started changing after the 2009 gruelling India tour. In January 2009, ECB sacked Moores while Pietersen had to step down from captaincy as criticism riddled him. Pietersen’s captaincy lasted only for three Test matches and four months.

But, Pietersen opened the can in his autobiography. The dashing England batsman used metaphors to describe Moores. “woodpecker … tapping on our heads, all day every day” and a “human triple espresso,” Pietersen wrote. He also felt Moores was obsessed with stats and meetings. ECB called back Moores when Pietersen was exiled. But later Moores was sacked for the second time.

5) Shahid Afridi v Waqar Younis

Pakistan cricket team no stranger to controversies. In this hullabaloo, Shahid Afridi was the national ODI and T20 captains. Legendary bowler Waqar Younis was the head coach in May 2011. After a lacklustre West Indies series, Waqar snubbed Afridi in his report of Pakistan’s performance in the Caribbean, saying, “as a captain he is very immature, has poor discipline discipline, lacks a gameplan and is unwilling to listen to others’ opinions or advice.”

PCB removed Afridi as captain, on the same day Waqar also resigned as coach. “Humiliated” by PCB, Afridi announced his “conditional” retirement. Waqar expressed his displeasure and denied any dispute between him and Afridi, with whom Waqar played for more than half decade. Within three months, Afridi voiced his wish to return, saying “My heart bleeds to play for Pakistan and I am dying to play for my country.”

Both Waqar and Afridi made a comeback in the Pakistan team. Afridi in November 2011 while Waqar in May 2014. The duo is now working together in T20I as captain and coach.  

6) Ross Taylor v Mike Hesson

This is the perfect anecdote of the misunderstanding. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson wanted Brendon McCullum as coach of the national side. New Zealand Cricket asked Taylor to step down.

The incident happened after Ross Taylor’s match winning performance against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Taylor innings helped New Zealand to draw the series 1-1. But, after the series, Taylor threw a bombshell in the press conference. Taylor said Hesson had asked him to step down as a leader in all formats. But, Hesson changed his mind after the series. But, belittled Taylor resigned from captaincy and opted to take a break from cricket.

However, Hesson later clarified that he asked Tylor to step aside from limited over formats and continue as Test captain. New Zealand Cricket offered an apology to Taylor, who returned in cricket in February 2013 under the captaincy of McCullum. Unlike, other coaches and captains disputes this one ended in a sweeter note as they step aside their egos for the good of New Zealand cricket.

7)John Buchanan v Sourav Ganguly


The successful Australian two time world cup winning coach John Buchanan was appointed as the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2008. But in 2009 Buchanan’s multiple captains formulae raised eyebrows. Sourav Ganguly stepped down as captain. KKR finished bottom in the point table. Former Indian captain Ganguly quipped at the press conference, “Tomorrow I can jump out and say we need four batting coaches, four John Buchanan.”

Finally, there were no multiple captains as Brendon McCullum had to shoulder KKR’s failure throughout the season. McCullum was termed as “Fake IPL player”. However, in the next season Buchanan was sacked while Ganguly was reinstated as captain for the next season. But, the franchise cut its tie with him as well ahead of the fourth season.

8) Samiullah Beigh v Bishan Singh Bedi

One of the biggest Ranji Trophy controversies happened in 2012-2013 Ranji season as an allegation of discrimination engulfed Jammu &Kashmir cricket. The row between Jammu & Kashmir Samiallah Beigh and the coach of the side Bishan Singh Bedi had become grapevine to media. Beigh wanted Abid Nabi, the Kashmiri paceman, in the team for the game against Goa; Bedi didn’t. Feeling that Jammu players were being preferred, the Kashmiri players in the team boycotted the next game against Andhra. Beigh was banned.

The matter was resolved and both are on talking terms, although Bedi resigned in 2013 citing the factionalism between Jammu and Kashmir as a factor in his decision.

9)Michael Clarke v Darren Lehman

The undercurrent of tension between coach Lehman and captain Michael Clarke came in the light in 2014 when Zimbabwe notched up a famous upset victory over Australia in August 2014.  Clarke was not happy with Steve Smith’s exclusion from the playing XI. He revealed it at the press conference. 

The dispute got fuel when Michael Clarke went for back surgery in the middle of the Test series against India. Steve Smith had to captain the Australian side and he had done well winning the series. Clarke was about to return in the in their second pool match against Bangladesh, which was washed away due to rain. But, many felt that Clarke high-profile bid to prove his fitness was an unnecessary hype in the team when Smith was doing well as captain. Both Clarke and Lehman later denied any dispute between them.

10)Javed Miandad v Wasim Akram

Former Pakistan captain Javed Miandad has revealed the reason of his controversial decision to step down as the national team coach ahead of the 1999 World Cup due to the “menace of fixing” that “weakened the roots of Pakistan cricket”.

Miandad was forced to step down as some of the big names in the team revolted against his weeks before the 1999 World Cup in England.

Players led by Wasim Akram at the reception in Islamabad prior to three  World Cup in England refused to play under the coaching of Miandad as he made baseless accusations against them of fixing matches during an earlier tournament in Sharjah.

“I told the then Chairman of the cricket board, Khalid Mehmood to take action or Pakistan cricket would suffer irreparable damage in coming times. My conscience didn’t allow me to continue as a coach so I stepped down in 1999,” Miandad said.

Pakistan being the better team lost the series to England in Sharjah before the 1999 World Cup. They also lost the one-sided World Cup final at the Lord’s to Australia. 

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