Stains on the pure white image of the gentleman’s game have appeared from time to time in forms of tampering, sledging, wrong actions, consumption of restricted drugs, information leaks, spot fixing and match fixing. With massive inflow of money into cricket and increasing illegal betting, the threat of match fixing has become quite prevalent. Be it international one-day cricket or test match, domestic cricket or county, or even the high profile IPL, fixing has made its presence seen everywhere. Though stringent actions have been taken both by the International Cricket Council and the National Cricket Boards to protect the quality and spirit of world cricket, major malpractices are believed to exist under their noses even yet. Listed below are the top 10 controversies in relation with match fixing and spot fixing which has shaken the cricketing fraternity over the last two decades:
10. County Cricket FIXED (2009):
In September 2009, Mervyn Westfield, an emerging cricketer who played for Essex in English County was sentenced to jail as he took £ 6,000 for spot fixing and underperforming in the NatWest Pro40 series match between Durham and Essex, 2009. Danish Kaneria, a fellow player of Essex was also charged with spot-fixing as he allegedly pressured Mervyn to accept the money and give away prescribed number of runs in his over. As per the investigation, the bookie was found to be Danish’s friend and Danish acted like a middle man. As a result, the ECB banned Mervyn for five years while giving lifetime ban to Danish Kaneria.
9. Marlon Samuels caught fixing (2007):
Marlon Samuels, a well known West Indies cricket player was banned for two years in 2007 by ICC as he was found guilty of leaking information regarding his team to an Indian bookie in the 2007 ODI series of India versus West Indies. The information basically dealt with the team tactics. However, Samuels has always denied it and said according to him, the punishment he received was unjust. He has returned to cricket lately and has proved quite successful. He thanks those two years which made him mentally strong and motivated him for bringing out his best performance.
8. Kenyan cricketer Odumbe banned (2004):
Maurice Odumbe, former Kenyan captain was banned in 2004 for five years by KCA (Kenyan Cricket Association) on the recommendation coming from ICC through the Ahmed Ibrahim report. He allegedly had “benefiting” contacts with an Indian bookmaker. According to investigations he received an overall amount of £14,500 over the time from the Indian bookie to fix matches and led a lifestyle of luxury and comfort. He was described as greedy, callous and irresponsible according to the report that shamed international cricket.
7. Mark Waugh and Shane Warne penalized for supplying information (1994) :
Two of the greatest names in the history of Australian cricket – Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were guilty of supplying information about pitch, weather and team selection to an Indian bookmaker in 1994 tour of Australia to Sri Lanka. In return they are believed to have received an amount of over £6,000 from the Indian bookmaker. They were fined, as a consequence, by the ACB with an amount more than that received from the bookie. However they were not banned according to the ICC corruption rules of 1994. The rules were revised in 1999 and the present rules call for a ban of 2-5 years for similar information leak on the part of any cricketer. Mark Waugh, Tim May and Shane Warne also accused the then Pakistani captain Saleem Malik of offering them bribes to underperform in a test and an ODI during the 1994-95 tour of Pakistan.
6. Saleem malik and fellows fixing case (2000):
Justice Qayyum report of 2000 against the shameful match fixing acts of Pakistani players shook the cricketing fraternity. According to the report presented, Saleem Malik, the then Pakistan skipper and medium paceman Ata-Ur-Rehman were guilty of accepting huge sums of money, as high as 40 lacs, from bookies to fix matches. Henceforth, the above players faced a life ban. Also, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul-Haq were fined heavily as evidences that casted doubts on their integrity were found. Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmed were also deprived of any captaincy opportunity in future.
5. Three Pakistan players made a shameful exit over no ball scandal (2010):
In 2010, a sting operation by News of the world proved that Pakistan bookie Mazhar Majeed gave bribes to three of the then Pakistani stars for spot fixing. The three cricketers were Salman Butt (the then Pakistan skipper), Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir (both fast bowlers) who were paid large sums in order to bowl no balls at predetermined times in a match against England in London, 2010. The no ball scandal was unveiled shortly after. The three were guilty of receiving corrupt payments, conspiring and damaging the spirit of the game and were banned for 5-10 years for their dishonesty towards cricket.
4. IPL 6 spot fixing scandal (2013):
The sixth edition of the Indian Premiere League was hit by spot fixing as the Delhi Police tapped phones and collected evidence against players and bookies. Three Rajasthan Royals players, namely, S. Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila along with twelve bookies were arrested by Delhi Police in connection with the IPL 6 scandal. The Chennai Super Kings team too was accused of match fixing, with little evidence. Even Raj Kundra, the owner of the Rajasthan Royals team was not spared and was questioned repeatedly by police. The BCCI stepped into immediate action by calling an emergency meeting but the whole saga of IPL 6 scandal has raised questions on the very existence of IPL and over the debate of legalizing betting over cricket in India.
3. Mohd. Azharuddin found guilty (2000):
Mohammad Azharuddin, one of the most successful captains in the Indian cricket history was caught into fixing charges once the South African captain Hansie Cronje admitted that Azhar was the one who introduced him to the Indian bookies. A CBI probe was then set up, whose reports found Mohammad Azharuddin guilty of fixing three ODIs, accepting money from bookmaker Mukesh Gupta (MK) and in the process, he also named Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia as his partners in crime. Also, he stated that he was being targeted with the fixing charges because he comes from the Muslim minority of India. However the Andhra Pradesh High Court lifted the ban on Azharuddin in November, 2012 on the account of unsustainability.
2. Other Indian players caught in the net (2000) :
After the involvement of Mohammad Azharuddin with bookies came into the spotlight of Indian media and authorities, the other Indian cricketers of that time were also not spared. Ajay Jadeja, as informed by Azhar was found to have close contacts with bookies that were implicated in the Hansie Cronje case and received money from them for providing crucial information and fixing matches. Same was the case with Manoj Prabhakar who not only received money but also introduced foreign players to Indian bookies. Both of them received a five year ban for their illegal and benefitting contacts. It was found also that cricketer Ajay Sharma introduced the rest to Mukesh Gupta (MK), the Indian bookie and hence he was banned for life.
1.Hansie Cronje scandal unveiled (2000):
One of the best players of his times and the then South African skipper, Hansie Cronje was doomed by fixing charges by Delhi Police during the ODI series against India in March, 2000. Transcripts of conversation between him and a bookie were released into press which provided clear evidence of his dishonest means. After initial denial, Hansie admitted to his rigging practices and confessed to have received over 100,000 USD since 1996 from bookies in return of match information and spot fixing. He mentioned the name of Mohammad Azharuddin and unveiled the whole net he had got into. Herschelle Gibbs, Henry Williams and Nicky Boje were also linked with the controversy and were also given a two year ban. Hansie Cronje was however, banned for life by South African Cricket Board and died of plane crash in 2002.