4) Mike Denness incident
Seven years before monkey gate, India toured South Africa in 2001-02. At the end of the second test match, match referee and former English captain, Mike Denness created a furore which threatened to split world cricket on racial lines.
According to the venerable referee, he had found as many as 6 Indian players guilty of improper behaviour during the match. He banned Virender Sehwag for excessive appealing, while Shiv Sunder Das, Deep Dasgupta and controversy’s favourite child Harbhajan Singh (Yes, him again) were handed suspended bans.
More shockingly, star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who had an unblemished record, was accused of ball tampering. Denness had not followed protocol on this as the on field umpires had not made any allegations against the player. To add insult to injury, captain Ganguly was also given a suspended ban for failing to control his team members.
The Indian media accused Denness of racism for targeting 6 players from the Indian side. As expected this led to public outrage. Denness further aggravated matters by refusing to answer any questions relating to the matter.
India refused to play if Denness was retained as match referee for the final test. This left the ICC and BCCI at loggerheads as both refused to back down. Ultimately, Cricket South Africa decided that they could not risk losing their earnings and backed India. The third match as a result was an unofficial match. The ban on Sehwag was upheld while those on Tendulkar and Ganguly were over turned.