Cricket is referred to as the gentleman’s game. Cricket matches, which were invented by English nobles, involve two teams of 11 players who are expected to play the game in a polite and honest manner.
Cricket is privileged to enjoy some of the game’s rich and glittering memoirs because of its ethics and sportsmanship. However, in recent years, the sport has seen various scandals that have put its ethics and honesty towards good sportsmanship to the test.
With numerous scandals in the news, the sport and its athletes have brought the reputation of this gentleman’s game to an all-time low. Scandals ranging from match-fixing, ball-tampering, and drug scandals to verbal brawls on the field have made headlines on occasion.
To shed some light on such a situation in the world of cricket, let’s take a look at the 5 biggest cricket scandals in the world.
1. Bookmaker Scandal | 1994-1995
The Australian Cricket Board punished Shane Warne and Mark Waugh for supplying pitch and weather information to an Indian bookmaker.
The Indian bookie offered Waugh $4,000 for the information. Later, Waugh referred him to Warne, who received a $5,000 “gift” from the bookmaker.
When the story broke in the press in 1998, both the players and the ACB were criticised for attempting to cover up the incident.
2. Herschelle Gibbs’ Revelations
Herschelle Gibbs shocked the cricketing world in 2010 when he published his incendiary autobiography, To the Point, after playing for South Africa for a decade with the tag of bad boy.
Gibbs discusses his battle with alcohol and a stint in rehab, his marijuana use, the six-month ban he received for his role in Hansie Cronje’s match-fixing scandal, and details of sexual escapades and group sex encounters involving several of his South African teammates.
3. Marlon Samuels’ Bookmaker Scandal | 2008
West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels was charged by Indian police with providing tactical knowledge regarding team matches to an Indian bookie. There wasn’t enough evidence to prove he was paid for the intelligence or even charge him with match-fixing, but there was enough to show it amounted to betting.
The authorities then disclosed a taped discussion between Samuels and the bookie, and Samuels was barred from playing cricket for two years by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
4. Muttiah Muralitharan’s No Ball Saga in Australia
Umpire Darrell Hair signalled no balls for an unlawful bowling action by Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan in front of 55,000 people at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the Boxing Day Test in 1995. It was the climax of a stressful summer of cricket in Australia.
The Test had been preceded by speculation, with a minority believing Hair was ready to give no balls off the spinner’s bowling, but few believed that would come true. When the umpire repeatedly gave no-balls off the bowling of the contentious spinner, amazement rushed across the iconic stadium.
Initially, the Sri Lankans felt Hair had called the front foot no balls, but when it became evident that this was not the case, tensions flared. In the subsequent ODI series, Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga directed his teammates not to shake hands with Australian players.
Tensions remained high when the team returned in 1999, which saw Ross Emerson signal a no ball off Muralitharan’s bowling in Adelaide.
5. Glenn McGrath’s Bitter Clash with Ramnaresh Sarwan
Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan famously battled on the fourth day of a Test between Australia and the West Indies in Antigua in 2003, when the two guys engaged in a verbal brawl.
For a few overs, there was a simmering tension between the pair, which erupted when McGrath made a sexual joke about Sarwan and West Indies legend Brian Lara.
Sarwan responded by instructing the fast bowler to ask his wife for the solution. McGrath responded angrily, no doubt as a result of his partner’s struggle with illness, which ultimately claimed her life.
Following the game, the pair apologised, with both leaders doing their utmost to mend fences between the camps.