Cricket is one of the world’s most popular sports. And although it’s largely unknown in places like America, in countries like Britain, Australia and South Africa it’s huge. Then there’s India, where cricket is almost seen as a religion.
Unfortunately, this game also has a dark side and this usually refers to the gambling aspect. As you can imagine, with a game this popular there is a lot of gambling going on. Over the years there have been dozens of scandals related to cricket, gambling and certain players.
Here are some of the most noteworthy:
India South Africa match fixing scandal.
In 2000, the Delhi police picked up a conversation between a notorious Indian bookie and the South African captain Hansie Cronje. Incredibly, while listening in on this conversation they discovered that Cronje had taken bribes to throw matches.
Soon afterward a court of inquiry was set up by the South African government and Cronje admitted his guilt. This caused a major scandal in South Africa and after his admission he was immediately banned for life from playing cricket.
Cronje also named several other players as being involved with match fixing. These included Saleem Malik of Pakistan plus Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja from the Indian team. Several South African cricketers were also implicated including Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, although they manage to escape punishment.
Australia is not without its share of gambling scandals. During the third test of the 1981 Ashes series, two Australian players (Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh) put a bet on England to win the match. This was after the odds had skyrocketed out to 500-1 and Australia were expected to effortlessly trounce England.
Despite this England managed to come back and the two players were able to collect over eight thousand pounds. Somehow they managed to avoid getting into trouble and it was never confirmed if they threw the match.
That being said, cricket authorities were widely criticized for overlooking this and it’s said that the incident contributed to the match fixing scandals of the 1990s and 2000s. A second scandal involved Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, who received money from a bookmaker known only as, “John” during the Sri Lanka tour of 1994.
According to reports they were given more than $5000 to provide pitch and weather information. Later the Australian Cricket Board would fine both of these players. Despite this, the information wasn’t released until 1998, which some feel contributed to further match fixing scandals.
Another report concluded that players were unaware that interacting with bookmakers could be dangerous, and that players should be alerted to this. Players should also be fined and suspended if they were found to be colluding with bookmakers.
As a result of these incidents, the ICC would set up an anti-corruption and security unit, headed by former members of London’s Metropolitan Police.
New Zealand match fixing scandal.
Soon afterward, this anti-corruption unit approach three cricketers from New Zealand, who were accused of match fixing. Two of these men, Daryl Tuffey and Chris Cairns were found to be innocent.
The third player, Lou Vincent admitted to cheating while playing for teams in South Africa, India and England. He was later given 11 life bans from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Sri Lanka pitch tampering scandal.
In 2018 it was reported by media outlets that pitch tampering may have occurred during the test matches between Sri Lanka and Australia and also between Sri Lanka and India. These outlets also reported that various gambling syndicates may have taken advantage of this to make money. Several individuals were implicated in this scandal including Indian and Sri Lankan players as well as groundskeepers involved in maintaining the pitch.