In the game of cricket there has been incidents which has marred the glamour of the game to a certain extent. Unwanted incidents have led to spectators and fans raising their eyebrows. Several times the dignity of the game has been affected. Here are some most shocking scandals that the world of cricket has ever seen.
1. The Sydney Riot (1879)
In 1879, Lord Harris led England team toured Australia and played a match against home side New South Wales at Sydney. A large number of spectators were supporting the home team led by Dave Gregory. All hell broke loose when a New South Wales was declared out by a controversial decision by the umpire. A riot broke out as the supporters of them home team entered the ground and started assaulting the English players and the umpire. It is assumed that the riot was sparked by a group of gamblers who had bet heavily on the home side against the mighty English team. This remains as one of the most shocking incidents of all time.
2. The Bodyline Series (1932-33)
In the Ashes series of 1932-33 the England bowlers devised a tactic to prevent the Aussie batsmen from scoring freely. They kept bowling short outside the leg stump, aimed at the batsman’s body. Even though no serious injuries were inflicted, this led to a bitter relationship and hostile feeling between the two teams. In fact, this incident went on to affect the diplomatic relations between England and Australia.
3. Riot at Eden Garden : 1996 Cricket World Cup
In the semi-final of the World Cup, Sri Lanka posted a target of 252 for India to make to finals. India were smoothly cruising on their way to victory at 98/1. However they succumbed to pressure and lost 7 wickets for just 22 runs. They were at 120/8 and inching towards defeat. This angered the passionate crowd of Eden Gardens, Kolkata, who started throwing water bottles into the ground and set the stands on fire. Match referee Clive Lloyd halted the match for 15 minutes and later tried to resume the match under tight security but his effort went in vain as the spectators were in no mood to calm down. Sri Lanka was declared the winner. This remains as one of the black marks in the history of Eden Gardens. It was good fortune that no players or spectators were injured from the incident.
4. Match Fixing Scandal (2000)
On 7 April 2000, Delhi police revealed they had a recording of a conversation between then South African captain Hansie Cronje and Sanjay Chawla, a representative of an Indian betting syndicate, over match-fixing allegations. At first Cronje denied the allegations. However was sacked as captain after confessing that he had not been “entirely honest”. The other names that came up were of Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and South African cricketers Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje, Henry Williams and Pieter Strydom. After investigations, Cronje was banned from playing or coaching cricket for life. Same punishment was given to Azharuddin. Gibbs and Williams were suspended for six months. This shook the entire cricketing world and many results were questioned.
5. Crisis in Zimbabwe cricket – War Against Racisim?
Between 2003 to 2007 several top Zimbabwe players refused to represent the country as a mark of protest against Robert Mugabe’s government who was accused of creating racist policies for which the white players had to suffer. Many players like Andy Flower and Grant Flower left the country and went to England. This period is regarded as the darkest phase of Zimbabwe Cricket and brought back the memories of racism which had affected South Africa earlier.
6. The Oval Test Fiasco (2006)
On 20th August 2006, on the 4th Day of the 4th Test between England and Pakistan umpire Darrel Hair accused the Pakistan team of ball tampering and gave the English side 5 runs as penalty. As a mark of protest the visitors refused to take the field after tea. The umpires declared the match has been forfeited and the match was awarded to England. This is the only forfeited match in the history of test cricket.
7. The Monkey-Gate controversy (2008)
India’s tour to Australia in 2008 is more remembered for infamous incidents than game results. The Australian team was accused of showing no sportsman spirit. There were incidents of Aussie fielders claiming dismissals on “grounded” catches. Indian captain Anil Kumble told the media that only one team was playing to the correct spirit. However all these were marred by the Monkey-Gate controversy involving Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh. Symonds alleged that Harbhajan made a racist remark against him by calling him monkey. Sachin Tendulkar who was with Harbhajan at the crease then, defended his teammate which made the Aussies accusing him of not being truthful. Harbhajan later defended himself saying that he used a slang in Hindi which sounded as “monkey”. Harbhajan was banned for 3 Test as a consequence and ICC was accused of being partial. This incident had a bitter effect on India-Australia relationship.
8. Terrorist Attack on Sri Lankan players in Pakistan (2009)
On March 3, 2009 a group of 12 terrorists open fired at the Sri Lankan team bus as the players were travelling from their hotel to the Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore. This shocking incident resulted in several of the players being seriously injured by bullets. The team was immediately rescued and flown away to Sri Lanka. All the cricketing nations condemned this incident and refused to play in Pakistan. Since then no international matches has been played in the country as they are forced to use UAE as their home venue. This remains as the most infamous and terrifying incidents in cricket history.
9. Spot Fixing Scandal (2010)
At the start of this millennium the world was introduced to match fixing. But in 2010, we came to know of the more dangerous use of it as “spot fixing” came to limelight. Pakistan captain Salman Butt and two of his bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were convicted of spot fixing in a Test match against England at Lords. An undercover reporter from an English newspaper exposed the scandal by a video tape which filmed Amir, Asif and Butt accepting money from a bookie named Mazhar Majeed for bowling deliberate no balls at specific points in an over. Also it became clear that fixing now was dependent not only on match results but also on outcomes after every ball bowled. All three players were suspended by the ICC from all forms of cricket.
10. IPL 6 spot fixing controversy (2013)
Three Rajasthan Royals players S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan took money from bookies to spot fix on various situations. The bowlers were supposed to give particular amount of runs away in an over. They were supposed to signal before the over started by making simple gestures like wiping sweat in towels or adjusting wrist bands. Police interrogated the bookies and went on to arrest Vindoo Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan, Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings. This led to wide controversy as Gurunath is the son-in-law of BCCI chief N. Srinivasan. The case is still being investigated.