The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a platform for many young players to showcase their skills and talents. It has also been the place for one last hurrah for stars who are in the fag end of their careers but still have some mileage in them.
The tournament has seen its share of controversy and suspensions in which players have been banned or suspended for one reason or another. All of the Pakistani players have been disallowed from participating in the league in the aftermath of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. In another example, David Warner and Steve Smith were banned from playing in IPL 2018, as they were suspended for a year by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the infamous sandpaper gate.
Therefore, we today present five more instances of players being banned or suspended for weird reasons in the Indian Premier League during its history.
1. Luke Pomersbach
Australia’s Luke Pomersbach was playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore during the IPL 2012 and had a decent enough outing for them in the previous year’s edition as well. He had earlier appeared for Kings XI Punjab in 2008 and 2009 IPL seasons. The left-handed batsman played 17 matches and made 302 runs with one score of over fifty with a strike rate of 122.76.
However, things came to a standstill in 2012, when Pomersbach was arrested by Delhi Police after being accused by a woman of molestation and assault on her and her fiancé. A US national had filed a case on Pomersbach for assaulting the two in their hotel room and was detained by police. He was released on bail but had to surrender his passport.
RCB and IPL decided to suspend him for the remainder of the season. Pomersbach made one more appearance in IPL, for KXIP in 2013 and after which he disappeared from the cricket scene. Recently it was revealed that the cricketer was homeless and living in a car while facing charges of theft in Perth.
2. Mohammad Asif
Mohammad Asif was one of the biggest draws in the inaugural Indian Premier League season in 2008. The Pakistan pacer was known for moving the ball in the air and off the pitch as well. The lanky pacer was bought by Delhi Daredevils franchise to partner veteran Glenn McGrath and proved to be an asset.
However, he was banned before the IPL season 2009 for a year, after prohibited drug Nandrolone was found in his urine sample collected previously between the Delhi and Rajasthan in Mumbai. Asif was banned from the IPL for a year and lost the contract with the Daredevils subsequently. He was then caught at the Dubai airport on his way back to Pakistan with 0.24 grams of opium and was deported from the country.
After the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, all Pakistani players were banned from playing in IPL, something which continues to this day, making 2008 the only appearance of Asif in the tournament.
3. Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja was dubbed Rockstar by his Rajasthan Royals’ coach-cum-captain Shane Warne when he was picked by the franchise in a draft, fresh from his U19 World Cup win for India in 2008. He played for RR from 2008-09 and performed credibly and even made his India debut in meantime.
Meanwhile, it was found out that the all-rounder had been negotiating with other teams for higher pay, flouting the IPL terms and conditions. It was also found out that he was bargaining about his fees with not only his franchise but other teams, something not tolerated by the officials of the league.
He was subsequently banned from playing in IPL 2010. He did make his return with Kochi Tuskers Kerala in IPL 2011 and the next year was bought by Chennai Super Kings and went onto win the title with CSK in 2018. Since then he has also appeared for Gujarat Lions as well in IPL when CSK was banned for two seasons.
4. Pravin Tambe
Pravin Tambe was a rare success story in the Indian Premier League having been picked by Rajasthan Royals in 2013 out of nowhere at the age of 42. A club cricketer, Tambe hadn’t managed to even break into the FC circuit in Maharashtra or Mumbai.
The leg-spinner picked 15 wickets for RR in IPL 2014 and even picked a hat-trick against KKR that season. He also appeared for Gujarat Lions and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League, picking a total of 28 wickets in 33 matches with the best of 4/20.
He was recently picked by Kolkata Knight Riders at the age of 48 making him the oldest buy in IPL auction history. However, he was banned from participating in the IPL 2020 by the BCCI for a weird reason. Tambe had appeared in the T10 league in UAE in 2018 after having retired from the game. However, he withdrew his retirement last year to play in Mumbai T20 League and put himself in IPL auction.
BCCI rules forbid any cricketer, who has not retired, from participating in foreign T20 or T10 leagues without prior permission. The Indian board was not informed of him withdrawing his retirement and T10 participation and hence taking a zero-tolerance stance on the matter, disqualified him from IPL 2020.
5. Harbhajan Singh
One of the most bizarre and weird bans from the Indian Premier League came in its inaugural edition when Harbhajan Singh was slapped with a ban after it was found that he has slapped S Sreesanth on the field. Harbhajan was playing for Mumbai Indians, while Sreesanth was appearing for Kings XI Punjab.
Photos of a tearful Sreesanth adorned the newspapers throughout the country and in international media as well. The thing was serious because Harbhajan was captaining the MI side in place of injured Sachin Tendulkar and it is said that the Kerala bowler got onto the nerves of the Punjab bowler and it resulted in one of the most unforgettable incidents in cricket ever.
Harbhajan was fined for his actions, along with MI coach Lalchand Rajput, who later lost his job after the season got over. Bhajji, as the spinner is lovingly known, was also banned for five ODIs by the BCCI disciplinary committee. The story has a happy ending as both apologized to each other and they won the 2011 World Cup for Team India apart from being the victors of 2007 World T20 in South Africa as well.
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