Cricket is full of funny incidences which are ugly ones as well. The other day I told you about the scuffle between Kiran More and Javed Miandad. The Pakistani batsman, Miandad, got so irritated by Kiran More that he did monkey jumps on field. Short-tempered Miandad was also involved in another on-field scuffle with Australian pacer Dennis Lillee. This time around, however, Dennis Lillee was at fault. He kicked Javed Miandad and the batsman reacted by raising his bat as though wanted to hit Lillee.
Besides the Kiran More episode, this is another ungentlemanly moment associated with Javed Miandad. While the More incident had a touch of humor —what happened during the first Test match in 1981 series between Australia and Pakistan in Perth looked like as serious as it could get. The other protagonist (in fact the main antagonist) was Aussie fast bowler Dennis Lillee. This incident gave us a famous and iconic photograph.
Dennis Lillee intentionally came in the path of Miandad as he was completing a run. Cricket magazine Wisden called it “one of the most undignified incidents in Test history”. The entire incident was published in Wisden as below:
Miandad turned Lillee behind square for a single, and in completing an easy run, he collided with the bowler. Eyewitnesses agreed that Lillee was to blame and most observed that he had deliberately moved into the batsman’s path. The two players’ versions of events differ … As Lillee turned to go back to his mark he maintained that Miandad struck him from behind with his bat; Miandad countered with the claim that Lillee had kicked him as he passed. What isn’t in doubt is that Lillee then turned to confront Miandad, and Miandad lifted his bat above his head as if to strike him. The unedifying images of Tony Crafter, the umpire, stepping in to hold back Lillee while Miandad wielded his bat like a deranged javelin thrower were beamed around the world.
The media were in no doubt where the blame lay–with Lillee. Bob Simpson, the former Australian captain, wrote that it was “the most disgraceful thing I have seen on a cricket field”. Keith Miller, in the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, added that Lillee “should be suspended for the rest of the season,” and Ian Chappell added that Lillee’s actions were those of “a spoiled, angry child”. But Greg Chappell, Australia’s captain, supported Lillee and … even suggested that it has all been part of a plot by Pakistan to entrap Lillee. The Australian players–who sat in judgment on such matters in those days–announced that Lillee would be fined AU$200, a decision which attracted almost as much anger as the incident itself. The two umpires complained at the leniency of the punishment, and the Australian Board acted swiftly, reducing the fine to AU$120 but adding a two-match ban. Cynics noted that the punishment ensured that Lillee missed two fairly low-key one-day internationals, and none of the Tests.
Here is the video of the incident:
Beyond doubt, Lillee’s behaviour was undignified. Miandad’s reaction looks pretty natural and I guess he should not be blamed for this controversy. Lillee wanted to provoke Miandad, probably to disturb his concentration. Lately sledging has increased a lot during the international cricket matches —but Lillee’s act was indeed one of the worst.
My dear readers, I hope you liked today’s famous photograph and the story behind it. Please comment and do let me know your view on this incident. I love to hear from my readers. Thank you!