As sports corruption becomes more common, the burden on the responsible authorities to keep the game pure increases. However, it is not fair to always point fingers at sports officials; one must accept that it is also a player’s responsibility to not bring shame to the sports they represent and value.
Betting and match-fixing are not new issues in cricket. The sport’s popularity, particularly in a country like India, constantly creates unique opportunities for bookmakers to make profits. But it’s awful to watch players put their love of the game aside and fall prey to such bookmakers solely for the sake of profit.
When we look at the story of Indian cricket, it is sad to see how many talented young cricketers have thrown away their promising futures in order to gain some quick money. Even old and seasoned cricketers are not immune to such temptations, as it may appear.
Here, we look at 10 Indian cricketers who succumbed to the allure of these money-making temptations and were thus banned.
1. Mohammad Azharuddin
It is unfortunate that a player of Mohammad Azharuddin’s calibre became implicated in a major match-fixing incident. He was one of the best Indian leaders and one of the finest batsmen of the modern era.
Reports of Azharuddin’s alleged murky connections with the Mumbai mafia gradually surfaced, and his distinguished career hit a new low. In 2000, the BCCI and the ICC banned him for life. Even though the Andhra Pradesh High Court lifted the BCCI ban a few years later, the ICC has refused to reinstate it.
2. S. Sreesanth
Sreesanth was arrested in May 2013 for alleged spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League (IPL), and he eventually confessed.
He was found guilty of collecting Rs. 40 lakh for bowling a fixed no-ball in a match against the Kings XI Punjab. Following reports that he had used his towel as a code for the bookies, there was a sense of collective amazement and fury in the cricketing community.
3. Manoj Prabhakar
Prabhakar took part in the Tehelka expose in 1999, where he used covert equipment to capture discussions with his colleagues. He rose to prominence after levelling scandalous claims of match-fixing against Indian cricket legends such as Kapil Dev.
The match-fixing controversies and claims prompted more thorough investigations, and Prabhakar’s name was unfortunately pulled into the murky waters. The BCCI later banned him for match-fixing.
4. Ajay Sharma
Ajay Sharma, who had one of the greatest domestic cricketing careers ever, was involved in a match-fixing scam and was given a life ban by the BCCI.
Sharma, on the other hand, has every reason to feel violated, as a Delhi district court absolved him of all allegations in 2014. But it was too late; the ban effectively destroyed his career.
5. Amit Singh
During a season of the IPL, he was reported twice for a suspicious bowling action, only to be cleared afterwards. The fantastic fast-bowling duo of Sreesanth and Fidel Edwards took Singh’s place in the Rajasthan Royals lineup.
He eventually became involved in the IPL spot-fixing scandal, according to reports that he had contact with the bookies and may have also served as a middleman for them. The BCCI banned him from playing for five years.
6. Siddharth Trivedi
Trivedi admitted to the police that Deepak Sharma and Sunil Bhatia, the alleged bookies, approached him and asked for Rs. 3 lakh. He allegedly returned the money afterwards because he was afraid of being discovered.
After the BCCI imposed a one-year suspension on him, he was unable to restore his career.
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7. TP Sudhindra
The sting operation by India TV ended Sudhindra’s blossoming career. Sudhindhra admitted to bowling a volunteer no-ball in a Madhya Pradesh Premier League T20 match during the operation.
Sudhindhra also claimed that he could do it again and that spot-fixing in the IPL is simple. During the investigation, his name was also mentioned in a sex scandal, and he was given a life ban by the BCCI.
8. Ankeet Chavan
Ankeet Chavan, an all-rounder for the Rajasthan Royals, is better known for the BCCI’s life ban than for his noteworthy on-field accomplishments. He sobbed in police custody while being interrogated and pleaded guilty.
In the latter part of that year, the BCCI handed him a lifetime ban. The Mumbai Cricket Association’s decision to later release his dues and pay him Rs. 32 lakh on ‘compassionate grounds’ is said to have irritated the BCCI.
9. Mohnish Mishra
He was barred from playing for his state team after joining the dissident Indian Cricket League, but he rejoined in 2009 after accepting an amnesty offer from the BCCI. He played for the Deccan Chargers in 2010 and then had a fantastic domestic season.
In 2011, Mishra joined the Pune Warriors. He was nevertheless one of the suspects whom India TV’s sting operation managed to capture, and the BCCI banned him for a year. Mishra’s career crashed after that, and he has since slipped into obscurity.
10. Shalabh Srivastava
Shalabh Srivastava was a talented Uttar Pradesh left-arm medium-pace bowler. He briefly played for Kings XI Punjab until his career was ruined by the India TV sting operation. Srivastava reportedly admitted during the operation that he received black money from the franchises and was willing to spot-fix in exchange for cash.
Following the release of the audiotapes, the BCCI banned Shalab Srivastava for five years on May 15, 2012.