We all like to think that cricket is a gentleman’s game (as we do all sports really) but there have definitely been some moments in the past that were not what we’d class as “genteel”.
In 2010, it came to light that Pakistan’s captain Salman Butt had been involved in match fixing during the team’s tour of England that year.
Butt was accused of receiving money from bookmakers to score a certain amount of runs in an innings as well as forcing his pace man to bowl no-balls at specific times.
He was jailed for 30 months and given a 10 year ban from playing. This was later reduced to 5 years and he returned to cricket in September 2015. Fellow conspirators Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were also initially banned 10 years, but reduced to 5.
Freddie Flintoff hit the beers a little too hard back in 2007 after losing to New Zealand in the Caribbean world cup. After a few, going on a pedalo seemed a good idea – until it capsized, with Flintoff in charge.
After being dragged out by hotel staff, he was held accountable and banned for one match. Oops!
Sir Ian Botham has a bit of a rep and that’s not just for his cricketing performance. He has been in hot water more than once, but perhaps never more so than in 1977 when he threw a punch at Greg Chappell in a bar for rubbishing the England team.
In Botham’s own words, “I gave him three official warnings, all of which he ignored, so the next time he started, I just flattened him. He went flying over a table and crash-landed on a group of Aussie Rules footballers, spilling their drinks in the process.”
Only last year Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan was banned from cricket for 2 years after engaging in corrupt conduct. On 3 separate occasions he had been approached to supply inside information for betting purposes and had not reported any of them. whilst he was not accused of supplying said information, the failure to report is a serious breach.
With one year suspended, he is due to return to the sport in October 2020.
Subject to massive news coverage in 2018, the Sandpapergate scandal surrounded the Australian cricket team; specifically, Cameron Bancroft, Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner. Coach Darren Lehmann also stepped down following the scandal.
During the third Test against South Africa, Bancroft was spotted on camera roughing up the ball to make it swing in flight – this breaches clause 42.1 of the ICC Laws of Cricket to achieve favourable bowling conditions and he was charged with a Level 2 offence by the ICC.
Classed as a “shocking disappointment” by Australia’s PM Malcolm Turnbull, Captain Steve Smith admitted he knew in advance that Bancroft was planning to alter the condition of the ball.
- Cameron Bancroft – banned for 9 months from both domestic and international cricket
- Steve Smith & David Warner – banned for 12 months from both domestic and international cricket