Cricket, the gentleman’s game has experienced its fair share of scandals and controversies over the years. From match-fixing & doping to on-field brawls and off-field scandals, the sport’s reputation has been tarnished by the actions of its players and officials.
Here are 7 biggest cricket scandals and controversies:
1. The Hansie Cronje Match Fixing Scandal
The revelation of widespread match-fixing in the late 1990s was one of the biggest controversies to hit the cricket world. Several international players were involved in this scandal including South African captain Hansie Cronje, who admitted to accepting money to fix matches. The scandal resulted in bans and criminal charges for several players as well as a major shift in how cricket is governed and managed.
2. Australian Ball-Tampering Scandal
While playing South Africa in a Test match in 2018, the Australian cricket team became involved in a scandal involving ball tampering. Cameras caught Australian players tampering with the ball in an attempt to make it swing which is against cricket rules. The scandal which resulted in bans for captain Steve Smith, David Warner & Cameron Bancroft, drew widespread criticism from the cricketing community.
3. The Monkeygate Scandal
During a Test match in Sydney in 2008, Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds accused Indian player Harbhajan Singh of racial abuse. The incident, known as the Monkeygate scandal resulted in Singh receiving a three-test ban which was later overturned on appeal. The incident heightened tensions between the two teams and resulted in a number of on-field altercations.
In the early 1930s, the English cricket team toured Australia and employed a highly aggressive & physical bowling strategy known as “bodyline”. The tactic which involved aiming fast, short-pitched deliveries at the bodies of Australian batsmen was designed to counter the dominance of Australian batsman Don Bradman. The tactic caused outrage in Australia and led to a major diplomatic incident between the two countries.
5. The 2010 Pakistan spot-fixing scandal
In 2010, three Pakistan cricketers, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif & Mohammad Amir were found guilty of spot-fixing during a Test match against England. The players were accused of bowling pre-planned no-balls in exchange for money from a bookmaker. The scandal led to bans and criminal charges for the players involved & sparked an ongoing investigation into corruption in cricket.
6. Underarm bowling incident of 1981
In 1981, during a One Day International match between Australia and New Zealand, Australian cricketer Trevor Chappell bowled an underarm delivery to prevent New Zealand from hitting a six and tying the match. The incident caused widespread outrage and led to a change in the rules to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
7. The Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal
In 2013, several players from the Indian Premier League (IPL) were accused of spot-fixing during matches. The scandal came to light when the Delhi Police arrested three cricketers, S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila & Ankeet Chavan who played for the Rajasthan Royals team on charges of spot fixing. The police also arrested several bookies who were allegedly involved in the racket. The scandal also led to the suspension of the Rajasthan Royals & Chennai Super Kings teams for two years from the IPL. The owners of the two teams were found guilty of involvement in the scandal.
These are just a few of the scandals and controversies that have troubled cricket over the years. Despite these controversies, cricket remains a beloved and popular sport all over the world & efforts are constantly made to ensure that the game is played fairly and honestly.