Cricket is no stranger to controversy and being an extremely popular and revered game, it’s bound to attract crime syndicates trying to make profits out of it. Besides gambling and betting, match-fixing has emerged as an incredibly profiting venture for both the players and shady syndicates, that is, until they get caught. Match-fixing is when players are paid off by gamblers for playing with a pre-determined result in view. This method of playing violates various laws and game rules that may result in fine, jail or partial to complete ban. Over the years a number of cricketers have been convicted guilty of being in active connection with bookies. Here we bring you 10 of the greatest match-fixing scandals in the history of cricket.
10. Maurice Odumbe
This Kenyan cricketer was one the leading players in the 1996 Cricket World Cup and won the title of Man of the Match during Kenya’s victory over West Indies. In 2004, following suspicions of match-fixing, the ICC investigated and found Odumbe guilty of taking bribes. As a result he was banned for 5 years. Although many believed that the ban would end his career, Odumbe promised to return from the pits of one of the greatest match-fixing scandals of all time. In 2009, Odumbe began playing competitive cricket at domestic level.
9. Marlon Samuels
Samuels was part of the West Indies cricket team when they won the ICC World Twenty20(2012). But before that, in the year 2008, he was suspected of handing out informations regarding team tactics and moves to a bookie ahead of the West Indies and India match in Nagpur in 2007. Though Samuels maintained his innocence, recorded tapes of telephone conversations were evidence enough for a two-year ban on Samuels. When his ban period was over, Marlon Samuels returned to field and built a high flying career for himself.
8. Mervyn Westfield
n one of the greatest match-fixing scandals in the world of cricket, Mervyn Westfield after confession became the first English cricketer to be convicted for spot-fixing. In 2012, Westfield was arrested on suspicion of “match irregularities” in the 2009 domestic season. He admitted of accepting bribe of £6,000 for deliberately bowling wides. In 2012 he was sent to prison for four-months and the English Cricket Board banned him for life from playing cricket in England and Wales.
7. The No-Ball Scandal
In 2010, players of Pakistan’s national cricket team were busted by a sting operation by News of the World for taking bribes from a bookmaker named Mazhar Majeed in return of playing no-balls. Three players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were condemned guilty and banned by ICC for a period of 5 to 10 years. And in 2011, they were sent to jail for 6 to 32 months in charges of conspiracy and deliberately playing no-ball in Test matches.
6. Shane Warne & Mark Waugh
John the bookmaker was an Indian bookie who 1994–95 received information regarding the weather and pitch by Australian cricketers Mark Waugh and Shane Warne in exchange of money. This was the greatest match-fixing scandal of the 1990s and as a matter of fact, the Australian Cricket Board initially was very eager to brush the case under carpet. In 1998 when the matter came to light both Warne and Waugh defended saying that they never revealed strategic material.
Fun fact: Interestingly Shane Warne had testified against Pakistani cricket captain Saleem Malik for attempting to bribe him to lose matches. Following this exposure, his credibility was questioned severely.
5. Salim Malik
Having captained the Pakistani cricket team, Salim Malik was revered as a glorious cricketer in the 80s and 90s until his involvement in the greatest match-fixing scandals came to light. He became the first cricketer of the 21st century who was banned for match-fixing. Following a cricket tour in South Africa and Zimbabwe while Malik was still captain, he was accused of taking bribes but came off clean and continued playing. After playing over 100 Test matches, Malik’s career came of a halt when he was found guilty of match-fixing and subsequently banned for life.
4. Mohammad Azharuddin
A brilliant batsman and an accomplished captain of the Indian Cricket Team throughout the 90s, Mohammad Azharuddin was accused of match-fixing in 2000. Hansie Cronje, a South African player accused of match-fixing, when confessing his misdeeds informed investigators that it was Azhar who’d introduced him to bookies. Consequently he was found guilty of fixing 3 ODIs, therefore, was banned for life by both the ICC and the BCCI. Later Azhar had alleged that he was being dragged into a conspiracy because he was Muslim. In 2012, however, the Andhra Pradesh High Court lifted the ban.
3. Other Indian Cricket Players In The 2000 Match-Fixing Controversy
Manoj Prabhakar, an Indian player raised alarm in the year 1998 when he informed a shocking news to the BCCI that became one of the greatest match-fixing scandals in cricket history. He accused that a certain teammate had tried to bribe him with Rs 25 lakh into underperforming in a match against Pakistan in 1994. Investigations found that it was Kapil Dev towards whom Prabhakar was pointing his finger. In 2000, after officers had raided households of prominent players and cricket officials, Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma were banned while Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Jadeja and Ajay Sharma were convicted for being in touch with bookies.
2. Indian Premier League Fixing Controversy
A premier league in a country where cricket is worshiped as a religion is bound to be involved in one of the greatest match-fixing scandals of all time. During the 6th season ofIndian Premier League the Delhi Police charged three cricketers, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and S. Sreesanth of Rajasthan Royals for being involved in spot-fixing. 23 others including bookies, actors, co-owners (like Vindu Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan) were brought under scanner for betting and committing other illegal activities. They were thought to have connections with underworld lords Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel. Lack of coordination among the police departments and unavailability of solid evidences led to release of a number of people including Sreesanth and Chavan.
1. Hansie Cronje
One of the greatest match-fixing scandals that rocked the international cricket fraternity occurred in the 2000, when Delhi Police revealed that they have recorded shady conversations between Sanjay Chawla and Hansie Cronje. Cronje was a successful and beloved South African cricketer until his involvement with Sanjay Chawla (a well-known member of Indian betting syndicate) came to light. Initially Cronje denied all charges of match-fixing but later during cross-examination, he broke down. At the end Hansie Cronje was banned for lifetime. And in 2002, he died of a plane crash giving rise to theories that Cronje was actually murdered.