The origin of cricket dates back to the 18th century. Initially, it was considered the sport of royals. With time, just like everything else, cricket has evolved. With the change in-game rules, formats, kits, etc. the Cricket committees over the globe have been united in preserving the gentleman-ness of the gentleman’s game over the years. The International Cricket Council has declared zero-tolerance policies for the spoilers of this beautiful game. All these policies are mentioned under ICC’s anti-corruption code, which applies to all players, coaches, and officials. The anti-corruption code has the right to impose a life ban on any of the participants of sport if found in a breach.
Despite such strict laws and punishments, there have always been dark faces plundering the image of the gentleman’s game. In this piece, we will be covering incidents where the integrity of the sport was challenged by some greedy individuals.
The instances of betting in cricket with the involvement of bookmakers, and players underperforming deliberately have been in there since the sport’s early days. However, media and technology had a revolution during the 1990s and cricket was becoming a global sport. With its advent, media shook the world by creating havoc on political grounds. And soon after, it uncovered the dark secrets of cricket.
India VS South Africa Incident
During the 1999-2000 South Africa tour to India, Delhi police made a breakthrough investigation. They succeeded in tracing a controversial conversation between a blacklisted bookie and Proteas captain, Hanse Cronje. The South African government intervened and negated any investigation against their players. However, Hanse Cronje held the blanket of honesty and confessed his acceptance of money to throw matches deliberately. Cronje was immediately removed from his post of the skipper. A few days later, BCCI’s former president opened a new chapter. Manoj Prabhakar had informed him that former Indian captain and the then coach, Kapil Dev was involved in match fixing. Kapil had asked him to underperform and lose matches deliberately. Kapil Dev neglected all the allegations. Manoj Prabhakar then conducted a sting operation to unveil all the culprits. Unfortunately, he himself got into deep waters and was banned from all forms of cricket.
South African cricketers Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams confessed that Cronje offered them money to underperform in the 5th ODI at Nagpur. Gibbs accepted the offer at first but went against it during the match and performed well. Williams was injured in his initial overs and could not complete the offer. Both of these players were suspended from cricket for 6 months. Hanse Cronje in his next interview told that Indian captain Muhammad Azharuddin was the one who introduced him to the bookies. Azhar later confessed his involvement in match-fixing along with Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia. Mongia was relieved of any charges, while Muhammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma were banned for life. Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar faced a 5-year suspension from cricket. Hanse Cronje was also amongst the life ban-ners.
“My great passion for the game and my teammates was matched by an unfortunate love for money” ~Hanse Cronje.
Pakistan’s Justice Qayyum Report
In Pakistan, the Justice Qayyum report was making headlines. The committee headed by Justice Qayyum aimed to uncover the match-fixing scandals in Pakistan cricket during the 90’s period. The report declared Saleem Malik guilty for fixing matches, claiming to have strong shreds of evidence. Saleem Malik and Ata-Ur-Rehman were banned from cricket for life. Waseem Akram was removed from his post of captain, while several other players were fined including ‘Bourevala express’ Waqar Younis, ‘Lazy Elegance’ Inzamam Ul Haq, and ‘Spin Wizard’ Mushtaq Ahmed.
Spot Fixing occurs when a player underperforms deliberately in some part of the match, like bowling deliberate no-balls, or wides, and they receive money for it. Spot-fixing in cricket is not very aged. The first spot-fixing scandal arose towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century.
The Infamous Lord’s Test 2010
During Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, three of Pakistan’s players were suspected of doing something ‘fishy’ in the Lord’s test match. England won the match comprehensively. The news of loss was the second-worst news for the Pakistani camp and fans back home. It was found that captain Salman Butt, fast bowlers Muhammad Amir and Muhammad Asif were caught cheating during a test match at the prestigious home of cricket. Asif and Amir bowled deliberate no-balls to English batsmen, while Salman Butt was the spearhead of the plan. All three of them were sentenced by the British court. Muhammad Amir, Muhammad Asif, and Salman Butt were suspended from all forms of cricket for 5, 7, and 10 years respectively.
Indian Premier League Allegations
In the sixth season of the Indian Premier League (2013), allegations of betting and spot-fixing caught the cover pages. Three players playing for Rajasthan Royals, Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, and Ajit Chandila were arrested by Delhi police in a midnight operation. Sreesanth was banned for life from all forms of cricket. In addition to this, two of IPL’s franchisees, Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were suspended for two years. Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants replaced them for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
In the second season of the Pakistan Super League (2017), some players were found guilty of having contact with bookies and accepting a certain amount of money from them to play dot balls. The list included Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hasan, Muhammad Irfan, and Muhammad Nawaz. Cricketer Nasir Jamshed, who was not participating in the league was found guilty of spearheading all the dealings between players and bookmakers and was suspended from all forms of cricket.
If you are curious to know more about cricket cheating and specifically about The scandal of the 1999 world cup so you can watch the video given below
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