It is habitually said that any successful thing on this planet can not escape intact without its dose of hardships and controversies. It is one hundred per cent just to state that the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) is no exception to the eyebrow raising controversies. Like any successful event on this globe, the opulent Indian Premier League has time and again been embroiled in several hard hitting controversies. At times, the degree of the controversies have been so overwhelming that a few individuals have also faced a life ban from cricket! This speaks a huge volume about the turmoil which has spread through the IPL at times. Since the inception of the league, not even a single season has gone without its fair share of controversies. In this article though, we slip back into time and have a look at the top 5 controversies, which have been a part of the Indian Premier League.

5. Slap-Gate:

This was the first destitution which plagued the IPL. The tournament was just one week old, when this unfortunate incident occurred. The incident took light on the 25th of April 2008. The Kings XI Punjab, led by the dynamic Yuvraj Singh took on the Harbhajan Singh led Mumbai Indians at Mohali. The game was a complete one sided affair, with the hosts winning by a huge margin of 66 runs. But what transpired in the post match setup shook everybody. As the two teams were shaking hands, Harbhajan Singh reportedly slapped Kings XI pacer S.Sreesanth. Within minutes, the TV cameras got a glimpse of Sreesanth in tears. It was then known that Sreesanth, while shaking hands with Harbhajan mouthed a “hard luck”, which provoked the mercurial Indian spinner.

Harbhajan, though, had a different tale to narrate. Singh allegedly said that he had warned Sreesanth before the match, to make sure that he doesn’t “sledge” any of his Mumbai team mates. But poor Sreesanth took this as a mere joke, and went on to say a few hard words to Robin Uthappa, the Mumbai Indians batsman and Sreesanth’s close friend as well. This irked Bhajji big time, who then took the ill fated step. In return, Harbhajan was banned for the rest of the IPL, and for a few international games. 

4. Ganguly–Warne spat:

This unwanted controversy involved two undoubted legends of the game fighting it out. Like the previous one, this jaw dropping controversy irrupted again in the very first season of the IPL. The Warne led Royals took on the Knight Riders led by the Prince of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly. The Royals posted a healthy 196 on board, and gave the Knight Riders a stiff challenge. The men from Kolkata desperately needed to get a move on, and were 100-3, by the end of 12 overs. Ganguly came as an opener, and was still at the crease. It was the last ball of the 13th over when Yusuf Pathan bowled a slow-short ball to Ganguly. Ganguly went deep back in his crease and pulled against the turn. Graeme Smith ran full length from deep midwicket and took the catch just before it could hit the turf. The Royals were celebrating, but Ganguly stood his ground and asked the umpire to refer the catch upstairs. This irked Shane Warne, as Ganguly was given the benefit of the doubt. Abuses were exchanged between the two, and eventually both were fined. Nonetheless, now the two legends are good friends again, but are often seen in the commentary box together.

3. Pollard–Starc:

This has to be the ugliest confrontation to have occurred in the IPL between two individuals. The Royal Challengers took on the Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on the 6th of May 2014. The incident occurred in the 17th over of the Mumbai innings. Mitchell Starc, bowled a quick bouncer to Pollard and went to mouth something provocative. However, Pollard didn’t respond and just made a hand gesture to Starc, indicating him to go back to his position. The next ball however changed the reputation of the IPL once and for all. Starc was in his run up when Pollard backed away and moved to the leg side. This enraged Starc who threw the ball in Pollard’s direction but a few inches away. Anger got the better of Pollard, who hurled his bat towards the Aussie quick. However, Pollard controlled his throw, and the bat fell near Pollard himself. The two continued to give each other the looks filled with frustration. At the end, Pollard had the last laugh as Mumbai won the game. However, till date, Pollard and Starc do not see each other eye to the eye.

2. SRK Push:

This was without second thoughts, the ugliest controversy to involve a team owner. This occurred on the 16th of May 2012, once again at the Wankhede stadium. The Knight Riders had thrashed the hosts Mumbai Indians by 32 runs in a low scoring game. After the victory though, Shah Rukh Khan, the KKR owner entered the stadium with his companions, among who were mostly kids. However, the security guards at the stadium prohibited SRK from entering the premises, and in the process, man handled a few kids. This enraged the Bollywood superstar, who began abusing the guards. Not just abuses, SRK and the guards even pushed each other, and were willing to knock each other down. However, things were diffused in the nick of time. Some security guards allege that SRK was completely drunk. Yet, even after 3 years of the incident, no one exactly knows the details about the controversy. Only SRK’s 5 year ban from the Wankhede stadium is known!

1. Spot Fixing:

When the term “fixing” is by anyway associated with cricket, then the result is bound to be profusely filthy!  Several episodes of match and spot fixing have been linked with cricket. But the one engulfing the IPL had adverse consequences on the league. The episode of match fixing was brought to light in the 2013 edition. The episode was highlighted in the Wankhede Stadium yet again! Three players of the Rajasthan Royals (Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan) were arrested and they were a part of a massive nexus. Their modus operandi was to give a certain amount of runs in a particular over, as promised to the bookies. Their signal would be the sweat towels which they placed in their pants. On the 15th of May 2013 at the Wankhede stadium, Ankit Chavan gave 15 runs in an over to Glenn Maxwell. This was a pre decided and a fixed over. Post the game, the Mumbai police arrested the three individuals, and they were later jailed. A murky web of fixing was also discovered which outlined the IPL. In return, the three faced a life ban.


Controversies though, can be taken care off, if they are handled well. But if they are not managed properly, then the IPL’s image will continue to be maligned.


    A cricket enthusiast who has the passion to write for the sport. An ardent fan of the Indian Cricket Team. Strongly believe in following your passion and living in the present.

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