Cricket's fight club: Pollard-Starc bring back memories of Miandad-Lillee
The Pollard-Starc spat was all fun and games compared to an incident that was described by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as 'one of the most undignified incidents in Test history.'
The Indian Premier League exploded with an ugly on-field spat between Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc. It happened in the 17th over of the MI innings, when RCB's Starc continued with his delivery despite the batsman pulling out.
After the Aussie fired the ball in, Pollard advanced menacingly towards Starc and flung his willow at the bowler but, luckily, it slipped out of the Trinidadian's hand and dropped near him.
A fuming Pollard had a word with the umpire complaining about the bowler's conduct.
On the previous ball, Starc had bowled a bouncer that sailed over Pollard's head and then followed it up by mouthing a few words which the big-built West Indian simply brushed away with a wave of his hand.
After the bat lay on the turf, the two on-field umpires intervened to talk to the two angry players as Chris Gayle, playing for RCB, came on to calm his West Indian teammate.
Later, in the final over, following a misunderstanding, Pollard and Rohit Sharma were at the same end and bowler Starc clipped off the bails. Pollard kicked the ground in disgust before leaving.
But this was all fun and games compared to an incident that was described by the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack as "one of the most undignified incidents in Test history."
In October 1981, Pakistan arrived in Australia for a three-match Test series under the leadership of Javed Miandad. Now, Miandad had earned a reputation as one of cricket's best sledgers. And it wasn't just that -- he was a great batsman too and a street-fighter to the core.
The Aussies weren't any less. In Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell and Rod Marsh -- they were past masters in the art of sledging. But sometimes when tempers flared, it became difficult to restrict the war to just words.
Australia were in charge when the incident occured. The hosts were bowled out for 180 but Lillee (5 for 18) and Terry Alderman (4 for 36) struck back to dismiss Pakistan for just 62. In the second innings, Australia's batsmen came to the party and made their way to 424 for 8. Pakistan needed 543 to win or had to survive two days to draw the match.
It didn't start off well. Pakistan were reduced to 27 for 2 by Alderman before Javed Mianded walked in. Miandad and Mansoor Akhtar held firm for a while and it looked like they had a partnership going when with 40 minutes left to tea, things just went crazy.
Miandad turned Lillee behind square for an easy single, but somehow managed to collide with the bowler. Most eyewitnesses -- not Greg Chappell and other Aussie players -- agreed that Lillee was to blame and he had deliberately moved into the batsman's path.
A review of the TV replays clearly shows that Lillee moved into Miandad's path and then even let loose a kick at the batsman.
But it led to a very famous picture of Lillee in his boxing stance, Miandad with his bat above his head poised to hit Lillee and the umpire desperately trying keep them from fighting. It was wild, it was real, it was cricket's version of the Wild West and even though Pollard and Starc heated things up when the search for cricket's biggest fight begins -- Miandad and Lillee still top the stakes.
You can see the fight in the video below:
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