Contests beyond: On-field spats can elicit several unwanted outcomes

The on-field spat between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli this month illustrates how the gentleman’s sport can turn unpleasant.

IPL, sports
Both Gambhir and Kohli don't get along well since the 2013 IPL. (PTI Photo)

The on-field spat between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli this month illustrates how the gentleman’s sport can turn unpleasant. After the words exchanged between Afghan bowler Naveen-ul-Haq and Kohli when Gambhir confronted them in an ugly conversation during the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) match held between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), both Kohli and Gambhir were fined 100% each and Naveen-ul-Haq was fined 50% of the match fees for breaching the code of conduct during the game.

This isn’t the first time when LSG mentor Gambir and RCB‘s Kohli have shocked the cricket fraternity. Gambhir is known for his aggressive celebrations and gestures. In Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium this season, he made a ‘finger on the lip’ gesture to the crowd after LSG’s one-wicket win over RCB. However, both Gambhir and Kohli don’t get along well since the 2013 IPL. Three years later, in another IPL match between RCB and KKR, Gambhir and Kohli had a heated exchange for throwing the ball towards the non-striker’s end (Kohli) with a possibility of a run-out.

Also read: IPL 2023: Lucknow Super Giants back in top 4 after 7-wicket victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad

Beside tension during a game, such spats can elicit several outcomes. They influence the way fans perceive a sports star and even products endorsed by them.

Of course, such incidents spark off a slew of viral videos, memes and endless discussions on stadium terraces, or social media.

The famous feud between Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth in Mohali in IPL 2008 ended up with the two players being benched for a couple of matches. Sreesanth was playing for Kings XI Punjab and Harbhahan Singh was captaining Mumbai Indians and the two players had a scuffle after the game, which resulted in Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth. Later, Harbhajan Singh expressed regret over slapping Sreesanth in a media report, saying it was ‘wrong’ and ‘a mistake on his part’.

Let’s not forget the India-Pakistan rivalry which is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world, especially in the world of cricket. Their clash in World Cup 2019 was the most-watched ICC event with a global cumulative average live

audience of 1.6 billion, and globally 273 million unique viewers on linear TV coverage with over another 50 million digital-only viewers, as per ICC data.

Also read: Pooran’s sucker punch powers Lucknow Super Giants’ 7-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad | HIGHLIGHT

In football, Manchester United versus Liverpool is the biggest club football rivalry in the world.

The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry that involves Argentine footballer Lionel Messi and Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo stems from being contemporaries and for their outstanding records and sporting success. Be it their face-off while playing for rival clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid, both Messi and Ronaldo are considered two of the best footballers in the game… and the debate of which one is better is still on.

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First published on: 14-05-2023 at 01:45 IST