We take a look at some of the great rivalries of cricket.
For a game that has elitist roots, cricket can get bloody savage.
There’s been sledging, bouncers, bat waving, body-line, underarms, racist taunts, and everything in between.
Only last week we released an article detailing Beefy and Chappelli’s fierce rivalry that has simmered for over forty years.
Let’s take a look at some of cricket’s biggest player rivalries.
Great Rivalries of cricket
I can assure you, there is no love lost here.
Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh
There’s a good reason Singh isn’t making eye contact with Symonds in this photo. He is scared Simmo will rip his head off!
Symonds claimed that Harbhajan called him a ‘big monkey’ in a verbal exchange during the 2008 Sydney Test. Singh however has always denied the claims saying he cused the expression teri ma ki chut, a Hindi curse that translates as ‘motherf—–’.
The rivalry caused huge tensions between Cricket Australia and the Indian Cricket Board with India even threatening to pull out of a one-day series in Australia.
Sachin Tendulkar vs Shoaib Akhtar
Bashin’ Sachin vs the Rawalpindi Express. This was a rivalry that captured the imagination of the sub-continent and cricket world as a whole.
At his prime Akhtar was firing down 160 km per hour thunderbolts. Tendulkar was the man Don Bradman described as “the best batsman” he’d ever seen.
These two had some epic battles with Akhtar clean bowling Tendulkar (middle stump too if you don’t mind) in the 1999 Test at Eden Gardens.
Akhtar later claimed that Tendulkar “feared” his bowling.
Arjuna Ranatunga vs Australia – the whole bloody country
Love him or hate him, former Sri Lankan skipper Arjuna Ranatunga is one of very few cricketers to have tackled the Aussie team and come out on top.
The Aussie team of the 90’s used to love dishing out the sledging but didn’t like it when they copped it back.
Sri lanka arrived on a tour to Australia in 1995 and 1996 where they were greeted by sniffer dogs at the airport. To add insult to injury star spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan was then called for throwing.
Ranatunga would constantly be on the end of a barrage of sledging and ‘fat jokes’ including Ian Healy’s famous ‘Mars Bar sledge’ when he took to the crease against the Aussies. He was far from impressed and was hellbent on doing everything he could to stick it to the Aussies.
Ranatunga went on to get his ultimate revenge against the Aussies destroying them in the 1996 World Cup final.
Steve Waugh vs Curtly Ambrose
The 1995 test series between the West Indies vs Australia was a crucial one. By winning the test series Australia dismantled the West Indies as the best test team in the world, a title they had held for at least twenty years.
But the West Indies were not letting go without a fight. During the Trinidad test, fast bowler Curtly Ambrose was engaged in an epic battle with Aussie star Steve Waugh.
Ambrose gave Waugh a death stare after one delivery reportedly prompting Waugh to say “What the f@#$ are you looking at?” Ambrose responded by marching towards Waugh. Teammate Richie Richardson had to hold Ambrose back who later said he had wanted to “knock out” Steve Waugh.
Shane Warne vs Kevin Pietersen
The 2005 Ashes series will go down as one of the most memorable of all time. The two biggest stars of the series: Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen.
Kevin Pietersen was the young bloke with the wacky hair style and even wackier batting technique. Warne was the old leg spin superstar who had been under-fire for his off-field exploits just prior to the series.
These two blokes were great mates away from the cricket pitch but savage rivals on it.
Pietersen plundered 158 in the Fifth test (473 for the series) to wipe out any hope of Australia being able to draw the series meaning England got their hands on the urn for the first time in almost twenty years.
Warne would go onto be the leading wicket taker in the series with a staggering 40 scalps.
Whilst Pietersen hit his mate Warne over the fence on numerous occasions during their battles, Warne got one up on his mate with this ridiculous delivery in 2007.
Dennis Lillee vs. Sir Viv Richards
The best fast bowler of the era vs the best batsman. These two champion athletes had some epic encounters.
Viv Richards was lone tough character. So much so that he took on some of the best fast bowlers of all time without wearing a helmet. True story.
Richards was not to be messed with as Tony Greig and England found out in 1976. Greig has said prior to the series that England would “make the West Indies grovel.”
Big mistake Tony.
Richards responded by saying “Nobody talks to Viv Richards like that.”
He went on to absolutely annihilate the Poms, smashing 829 runs in four tests.
Dennis Lillee was one of the only bowlers in the world who could give Richards any headaches.
When Australia faced the West Indies in the 1981 Melbourne test, the Aussies were in all sorts of strife when they were bowled out for 198.
But Lillee launched a brilliant Aussie fightback which saw him claim the great Richards with the last ball of the day inspiring Australia to what would eventually be a memorable test victory.