Cricketers like Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, and many more are remembered even after they were recited ages ago. Fans all over the world never show a day without remembering their favorite cricketers. And in their native country, they enjoy The best status as they all are considered legends of the game. However, not every cricketer got such an enigma from fans. There are few Cricketers who are seen as villains in their own countries.
Cricketers who are seen as villains in their own countries
There are no words that can justify how these cricketers have felt or felt when their fans from their own countries went rough against them. It is painful when you are being treated as a pariah by your own people. We know sports stars who are hated by their opposition but what about the ones who are treated as villains for their performances in their home countries.
Sometimes the perceptions are blatantly wrong about them but still, in the public’s eye, they are the ones responsible for all that is bad. Whether we think of them as troublemakers or not doesn’t matter. Let us have a look at a few Cricketers who are seen as villains in their own countries :
Ishant Sharma has never been able to carve out the same space for himself in the heart of Indians fans as the likes of Zaheer Khan and Bumrah have and he has only himself to blame for that. With his height, one would imagine him to be a terrifying bowler who could run riots but contrary that his sight allows batsmen to breathe a sigh of relief. With the number of loose balls he presents to the batsmen on the platter, it isn’t a surprise to me that he is being hated by a big chunk of the Indian population.
The main reason behind so much hate is the match was between India and Australia. In that match, Sharma was charged with the responsibility of bowling the 48th over of the innings with 44 runs to be needed of 18 balls. What happened next is history. Australia’s Faulkner pulverized his bowling and smashed him for 30 runs in that over. Australia went on to win the match thanks to Mr. Sharma’s heroics with the ball (for Australia).
“The first impression is the last impression” is one statement which is incontrovertibly false in Kevin Pieterson’s story. The guy came, saw, and conquered the international cricketing stage. KP had always been a basher both on and off the field. He was instrumental in England’s historic Ashes victory in 2005 and English victory in T20 World Cup can hardly be imagined without KP’s performances. But after that KP became more of baggage that the team management would rather avoid carrying everywhere.
His cavalier attitude became too much for the coach and captain to bear with. News of discord between KP and the team management soon became rampant and it wasn’t long after that KP found himself being exiled from the English Cricket Team
One wouldn’t expect a person with 188 ODIs and 60+ tests under his belt to end up on this list but such is the irony in the case of Hansi Cronje. An aggressive batsman, utility bowler, and brilliant fielder, Cronje was one of the first players from South Africa who made a mark for themselves in the post-isolation period in 1992. What turned Hansi Cronje into a tarnished hero of South Africa was his blatant involvement in match-fixing. In 2000, Delhi Police claimed to have tapped the conversation between an Indian Bookmaker and Cronje.
The contents of the tape implied an underperformance from Cronje. South Africa vehemently denied the accusation but three days later made a confession on a call with a person from the South African Cricket administration. He was immediately stripped of South Africa’s captaincy and was later handed down a life ban. A ban he tried to challenge in courts of law but in the court of public, he was never able to revive his image, and though after his unexpected demise in a plane crash, many.
Misbah Ul Haq
There’s a mixed opinion over Misbah Ul Haq. Some say, he is a savior of Pakistan’s cricket. However, the rest wouldn’t think twice before accusing Misbah of being the root cause of every failure and shortcoming of Pakistan Cricket. They call him “tuk-tuk” for his, at times, ultra-defensive batting style. Misbah can fall in the hit-or-block pedigree of batsmen but that is what he has been successful with.
He has won matches for Pakistan in situations when no other batsman accompanied him. He is the most successful Pakistani test captain ever. A man with the nerves of steel, Misbah was the lone man battling the Indian side in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup and almost snatched victory for his team. Even though Pakistan had clearly lost the game after a pathetic batting collapse, Misbah through his massive hitting brought Pakistan into touching distance of victory only to fall short of it by just 6 runs. Misbah still gets lambasted for playing that scoop that resulted in his demise but few give him credit for bringing Pakistan into the winning situation in the first place.
He just got acquitted from a court in England from the charges of perjury. Chris Cairns who once was deemed as one of the most sumptuous hitters of Cricket ball fell from grace after news of his involvement in match-fixing became public. Cairns, ostensibly, remained involved in match-fixing in the outlawed Indian Cricket league and coerced his ex-teammate from New Zealand, Lou Vincent, into match-fixing as well.
Vincent openly states that Cairns strong-armed him into match-fixing. Not many people now in New Zealand want to remember Cairn’s services as a New Zealand cricketer, most of them hate him for cheating at the very game which gave him all the praise.
Rahat’s docile demeanor often dissuades people from throwing any abusive taunts at him but the truth is that not many remember his performance in the last World Cup in New Zealand & Australia with much fondness. Rahat Ali lost a huge chunk of his supporters- he never had any huge fan base to start with- on the day of Quarter Final between Australia and Pakistan. A spirited Wahab Riaz, after pressurizing Shane Watson with one of the greatest spells of the World Cup history, manufactured a chance for Pakistan which could have given Pakistan a whiff of victory.
But the man who made a mess of that chance was Rahat Ali. He dropped one of the easiest catches in cricket and with that dropped catch Pakistan’s hopes of staying in the tournament were dashed. So I wouldn’t blame Pakistani people for perceiving Rahat as a villain.