Photo feature

Me and my frenemy

We look at camaraderie between opposition players, because it's nice

Nishi Narayanan  |  

© PA Photos/Getty Images

Last month, Sarfraz Ahmed and Shannon Gabriel were pulled up for offensive remarks they made on the field against opposition players. While they were quick to apologise for their indefensible pronouncements, many players try to use the excuse of "It's just banter" to get away with obnoxious, mean-spirited utterances. In our photo feature this month, we look at instances of players genuinely keeping things light and fun on the field (and off it).

Send-offs, animalistic roars, pointing in the direction of the dressing room? None of this occurs as a laughing Javed Miandad walks past Ian Botham - two men not known for their reluctance to get into scraps - after being dismissed in an ODI at The Oval in 1987. Not that the two were always this cordial. On Pakistan's controversy-filled 1992 tour of England, the newspapers reported that Botham had told Miandad to f*** off after dismissing him in an ODI at Lord's.

Pearce / © Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Tony Greig (left) and New South Wales' Hugh Martin (right) know just how to get a rise out of Sunil Gavaskar without stirring up any ill-feeling, during the Rest of the World tour of Australia in 1970-71.

Graham Crouch / © Getty Images

After a heated argument, which involved some angry words and shoving, during the 2011 World Cup quarter-final between South Africa and New Zealand in Dhaka, Faf du Plessis and Scott Styris pretend to kiss and make up.

Du Plessis might have been willing to forgive, but he did not forget the incident, bringing it up four years later, ahead of the 2015 World Cup. "I learnt a lot about myself when I didn't stand back to those guys. They targeted me as a youngster… In my perfect world I would like to play New Zealand in the semi-final and have that same situation arise again. But this time it will be the other way around." South Africa did play New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup semi-final but lost the thrilling game by four wickets in the last over.

Clive Rose / © Getty Images

Sometimes instead of kisses, you throw pretend punches to show your affection, like Andy Bichel and Adam Hollioake did during a domestic T20 in 2004.

Hamish Blair / © Getty Images

Today, T20 matches are competitive, high-intensity affairs, but when they were first introduced, players looked at them as a bit of fun. Glenn McGrath jokingly gets red-carded by umpire Billy Bowden after he pretended to bowl underarm in the first ever men's T20I, in Auckland in 2005.

Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

Botham and Viv Richards' friendship, as team-mates at Somerset and rivals in international cricket, has endured long into their retirement. "In fact he is not really my best friend, he is more like a brother to me and we are part of each other's family. He is the godfather to my son and a huge part of my life," Botham told the Mirror in 2012, when Richards turned 60. In this photo, Beefy and Viv enjoy post-match drinks in the dressing room in Barbados in 1981.

© Getty Images

County cricket, like the IPL today, was a place where many trans-national friendships emerged. Here, Mike Gatting bear-hugs Malcolm Marshall after trying to run him out in a 1979 Gillette Cup match.

Mike Hewitt / © Getty Images

If you must face Curtly Ambrose, it's wise to keep him in good humour.

Neal Simpson / © PA Photos/Getty Images

Bum pats aren't just for your own team-mates.

Marty Melville / © AFP/Getty Images

In the ODI against India in Napier in January, New Zealand No. 11 Trent Boult stepped out of the crease to attack Yuzvendra Chahal, who adjusted his length in response. Boult had to quickly change his tactics and bring down his bat to defend the ball while his back leg was in the air - prompting Rohit Sharma at first slip to shake with laughter. For a while now in interviews, Chahal has bragged about his batting skills and complains that his captains don't listen to his advice to move him up the order. In this photo, from the second game of the series, Chahal playfully takes Boult's bat away, presumably to offer him some coaching tips.

William West / © AFP

Brett Lee and Andrew Flintoff have featured in one of cricket's most iconic photos of camaraderie - from the 2005 Edgbaston Ashes Test. In this photo, taken in Melbourne in 2007, Lee and Flintoff share a laugh after they find themselves on the ground after a run-out attempt.

Gareth Copley / © Getty Images

Like Flintoff, Joe Root takes the time to commiserate with his vanquished opponent, Bangladesh's Sabbir Rahman, after a hard-fought Test in Chittagong in 2016.

Tim Goode / © PA Photos/Getty Images

Ben Stokes can be a fiery competitor, but here he shares a laugh with the ever-smiling Shikhar Dhawan, at Trent Bridge in 2018.

L Blandford / © Getty Images

Today, captains come together to address pre-series press conferences at grounds or hotels, but in the good old days, the host captain often turned up to welcome the visiting team when their ship docked at a port. Len Hutton greets Australian captain Ian Johnson at Tilbury for the 1956 Ashes.

© Getty Images

Learie Constantine and Jack Hobbs, who had retired from international cricket by then, enjoy each other's company, and cups of tea, at a reception for the West Indies team in London during their 1939 tour of England.

Nishi Narayanan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo