From Harbhajan-Sreesanth slap gate to MS Dhoni's anger: Top IPL controversies through the years

 | Updated: Apr 18, 2021, 04:52 PM IST

From IPL spot-fixing scandal to Ashwin's 'Mankad' row, from Sreesanth's slap gate to MS Dhoni's wide controversy, India's cash-rich cricket league has seen it all. 


In IPL's first edition, Indian fast bowler Sreesanth of Punjab team was slapped by spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was the captain of Mumbai at the time. 

The incident was highlighted Sreesanth was caught by TV cameras crying on the field before the presentation ceremony.  

His teammates and Punjab's coach Tom Moody was upset after the incident and termed Harbhajan's behaviour "unacceptable". 

While Sreesanth later downplayed the incident saying he had no complaints against Harbhajan who was "like an elder brother" to him. 

However, Harbhajan was banned from the remainder of the tournament and IPL prohibited the spinner from collecting his salary after finding him guilty. 

Even BCCI banned Harbhajan for five ODIs after investigating the matter separately. 


Shoaib Akhtar

Pakistani players took part in the first edition of the IPL in 2008 but following the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, the Indian government suspended all sporting ties with Pakistan. 

Pakistani players would only be able to play in the IPL once bilateral cricket ties with India were restored on a permanent basis, according to a Pakistan Cricket Board official, PTI had reported.


Lalit Modi

The third edition of Indian Premier League was shadowed by the sacking of then IPL chairman Lalit Modi. 

Lalit Modi was the first chairman and commissioner of the Indian Premier League. 

He was sacked after being allegedly accused of misconduct, indiscipline and financial irregularities. 

The BCCI launched an investigation and found him guilty of all the charges and banned him for life in 2013. Modi denied the charges and fled to London shortly before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched an investigation against him for alleged financial irregularities.



Gabriella Pasqualotto, South African cheerleader wrote about her experiences in the Indian Premier League which caused a stir. 

She blogged about how cheerleaders were treated in the league. She also mentioned the flirtatiousness of cricketers with the girls. 

The 22-year-old Gabriella, from Pietermaritzburg, was one of the 40 South African cheerleaders in the IPL and was employed by Neeta Ambani-owned Mumbai team. 

She was later thrown out the Mumbai franchise. 


Shah Rukh Khan

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's 'extreme intolerance’ remark created a huge controversy, and while he was coping with all of it, another controversy took the headlines when he got an invitation from Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the banned terrorist group Jamat ud-Dawah, to leave his motherland and come and settle in Pakistan. 




The cricketing world was shocked when Delhi Police arrested three cricketers of Rajasthan team, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, on the charges of alleged spot-fixing in 2013. 

Besides, another team was also found involved in a similar case, when Mumbai Police arrested Vindu Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of Chennai's owner and now-ousted former BCCI president N Srinivasan, for alleged betting and having links with bookies. 

In 2015, Supreme Court suspended Rajasthan and Chennai for two years and they could not participate in both the 2016 and 2017 IPL tournaments. 

However, they returned to the competition for the 2018 season.


Preity Zinta

Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and businessman Ness Wadia became business partners when they purchased an IPL team together. At that time they both were dating and gave couple goals in the first edition of Indian Premier League, however, their relationship ended in 2009. 

They nearly dated for four years. 

The controversy emerged when on June 13, 2014, Preity Zinta filed a complaint against Ness Wadia accusing him of molestation, threats and abuse. 

In her complaint, Preity had said, "For some time we have ended our relationship. Although we are the co-owners of our team 'Kings XI Punjab', but we are no longer in a relationship and only talk for professional reasons and work." 

The Mumbai Police filed a charge sheet in the case in February 2017, four years after the incident took place. Ness Wadia is currently out on bail. Among his bail conditions is that he has to seek permission from court every time he travels out of the country. 


Virat Kohli

In the eighth edition of IPL, Bangalore skipper was found guilty of violating the BCCI anti-corruption code when he met his girlfriend, now his wife Anushka Sharma in the stands at the Chinnaswamy Stadium during a rain-break in an IPL match. 

Later, he was cleared of the charge as the BCCI viewed the digression as minor.  


Wankhede Stadium

In the ninth edition of IPL, the Supreme Court upheld the Bombay high court's order throwing a dozen IPL matches out of drought-hit Maharashtra in 2016. 

The decision was made after widespread outrage over wastage of water in maintaining cricket stadium and pitches when vast swathes of the state are grappling with drought and a scorching heatwave. 


Kieron Pollard

In the tenth edition of IPL, a controversy emerged when West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard slammed former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar for calling him 'brainless' on air while commentating during a match. 

However, Manjrekar may not have even uttered the word 'brainless'. It seems Pollard lashed out at the commentator without being entirely certain of what was actually said. 

But Pollard took to Twitter and expressed himself with strongly worded messages to Manjrekar. 



In 2018, the IPL matches were being moved out of Chennai owing to security concerns as Tamil Nadu witnessed protests urging the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) on the water sharing dispute with Karnataka. 

During Chennai's first home game against Kolkata, protestors demonstrated outside the stadium demanding a boycott of the match. 

Despite heavy security, spectators threw a pair of shoes near the boundary ropes during the course of the match. 

Later the Chennai matches were shifted to Pune's Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium. 



The twelfth edition of IPL was shadowed by 'Mankading' controversy when Punjab skipper Ravichandran Ashwin ran out Rajasthan's Jos Buttler, who was at the non-strikers' end, without giving him any warning. 

Buttler's dismissal during a match between Rajasthan and Punjab triggered a spirit of game debate and left the cricket world divided. 

The custodians of the game MCC doing a flip-flop. The MCC, at the onset, said Ashwin did the correct thing only to change its statement next day with one of its representatives stating that "the pause was just too long and therefore not within the spirit of cricket."


IPL 2020: 'Angry' MS Dhoni protests wide call, umpire Paul Reiffel changes his mind

The incident happened in the 19th over when Shardul Thakur was handed over the ball in a tensed situation. SRH needed 25 runs to win off 11 deliveries with Rashid Khan on strike. Shardul was targeting the wide yorker and in the second delivery, the ball seemed to have crossed the tramline. Straight umpire Paul Reiffel stretched his arms wide to signal a wide but the agitated reaction from Dhoni and Shardul seemed to have forced Reiffel to change his mind and decide not to call it a wide delivery.

Even though many fans were left agitated by Dhoni's reaction and Reiffer's change of decision, the Section 2.12 of the IPL match playing conditions states: "Umpire’s decision: An umpire may alter any decision provided that such alteration is made promptly. This apart, an umpire’s decision, once made, is final."