Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Now that the World Cup is in full swing, we continue your cricket education with a round-up of events that have shocked the cricketing world.The list isn’t exhaustive and it largely avoids scandals that took place off the field. That leaves out Shane Warne’s pre-Liz Hurley sexcapades and Navjot Singh Sidhu’s homicide conviction.
Instead, it targets on-field or cricket-related incidents that have shaped the sport as it exists today. That includes ball tampering allegations, Pakistan’s 2010 match-fixing scandal and sledging. And the Australian “legend” Warne manages to make two appearances on the list anyway.
Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were fined by the Australian Cricket Board for providing an Indian bookie with pitch and weather information.
The Indian bookie who introduced himself as 'John' offered Waugh $4,000 for the information. Waugh later introduced him to Warne who received a $5,000 'gift' from the bookie. When the information finally made it to the press in 1998 both players and the ACB were criticised for trying to cover-up the incident.
Shane Warne who most recently romanced Liz Hurley has been the subject of many sex scandals, makes another solo appearance later on.
Indian police accused West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels of providing an Indian bookie with tactical information about team matches. There wasn't enough information to prove that he had been paid for the information or even to charge him with match fixing, but it was enough to prove it amounted to betting.
The police later released a taped conversation between Samuels and the bookie and the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Samuels from playing cricket for 2 years. He still maintains his innocence.
During a test series against South Africa, referee Mike Denness accused 6 Indian players of various offenses and suspended them all for one test match.
Sachin Tendulkar was charged with ball tampering, the team captain Sourav Ganguly was charged with being unable to control his team, and four other players were charged with appealing too emphatically and too much.
Denness was called a racist by the Indian press and angry Indian fans took to the streets burning effigies of Denness. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) threatened to cut short the series if the ICC didn't replace him as match referee, they refused, but the South African board obliged.
Pakistan was touring England on a test series in 2006 and umpires asked for the ball to be changed during the final test match. There was no video footage of ball tampering at the time, but the umpire changed balls and awarded England 5 runs as well. After the tea break, the Pakistani team refused to return to the field and with two hours of no-play the umpires declared England the winner.
Australian bowler and lothario Shane Warne was banned from playing the sport for a year after he tested positive for a banned diuretic. He was visibly upset at a press conference:
'I feel I am a victim of the anti-doping hysteria... I feel a 12 months suspension is a harsh penalty for not checking what I took with anyone... The tablet I took on the 21 January was a fluid tablet, I did not know it was a diuretic. I knew it as a fluid tablet.'
Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer was found dead at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica, hours after Pakistan's surprise loss to Ireland in the World Cup. At the time it was thought he died of a heart-attack but a pathologist declared that he had been strangled. Scotland Yard detectives joined the investigation, but his alleged murderer(s) have never been caught.
Unlike traditional match-fixing which determines the outcome of a game, spot-fixing involves fixing details of play. Scotland Yard detectives investigated Pakistani players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Aamer in London. The three were found out by Rupert Murdoch's News of The World.
Butt faces a 10-year ban, Asif seven, and Amir five from any match that is affiliated with the ICC or a National Cricket Federation.
During the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup between Australia and New Zealand, the Kiwis needed 6 runs from the final ball of the match to tie with the Aussies. Australian captain Greg Chappel told the bowler, who also happened to be his brother, to deliver an underarm ball (which made it impossible to score a six.) In a rather unsportsmanlike fashion Trevor Chappel strolled up to the pitch and rolled the ball across, Brian McKechnie played the ball anyway and then threw his bat and walked off the field in disgust.
South African cricketer and former captain Hansie Cronje's 2000 match-fixing scandal remains the most infamous to date. Indian police had recorded conversations between Cronje and a bookie from the Indian betting syndicate, Cronje at first denied the allegations but then admitted to accepting $15,000 from a bookie in London.
It eventually emerged that he had offered two of his teammates money to under-perform. As the investigation continued his roster of bribes kept growing. It eventually emerged that former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin had introduced him to the bookie and his team-mate Manoj Prabhakar was also found guilty by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). All three were given lifetime bans.
Cronje died in a plane crash two years later.
Even though there was technically no rule breaking involved, this classic incident that took place during the iconic Ashes series helped fuel Australia and England's bitter rivalry and is among the most controversial in cricket history.
The English team conceived of a delivery called leg theory or 'bodyline' to target Australian batsman Don Bradman. The ball was pitched short so it would bounce high up the body of the batsman, leading to deflection that could be easily caught by the fielders. The balls were bowled at about 150 km/hr (93 mph) and aimed at the batsman's head and torso.
The English captain Douglas Jardine used the tactic so aggressively that Australians began to view it as a deliberate attempt to hurt the batsmen. It eventually grew to be a diplomatic row between the two nations and was disallowed in 1934. The delivery was so controversial it became the subject of a TV mini-series starring Hugo Smith.
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