Cricket has never been known for its lack of controversies, if we exclude all-time greats like Sir Donald Bradman who left an impressive legacy that still stands tall to this day.
Since it was first played in England during the Middle Ages, cricket has seen some pretty shocking events occur. Some have involved players or teams doing things that are completely unacceptable, but others have gone way beyond what should be considered normal etiquette.
No matter how bad some incidents get, most people agree that what happened crossed the line into obscene territory at least once. In fact, there are several instances where even violence is not too strong a word to describe what occurred.
The following are nine major scandals that shocked the game. Although they may seem trivial now, each one made a big splash back then and continues to do so today.
#9 The Bodyline Series
What happened: During the 1932/33 Ashes series in England, Australian cricketers decided to take their rivalry with English batsmen a step further by using underhand tactics.
Bodyline, as it came to be called, consisted of various strategies such as throwing the ball, dropping it short, and sucking up any loose balls to prevent the batsman running between them. Many believe these tactics were used more for entertainment purposes than because of genuine reasons.
The 2010 Lord’s Ashes cricket match fix scandal
After years of mostly peaceful competition, something changed in early 2010. An undercurrent of corruption began to seep into every aspect of the game. Teams were found conspiring to lose games, teams invested heavily in expensive gear designed to cheat during play, and former international captains were accused of accepting bribes to pick certain sides at matches.
The worst offender was England captain Michael Vaughan, who admitted he received $100,000 (approximately £63,000/$98,500) for picking Australia as his team in the 2008-09 Ashes series. He later resigned from professional sport entirely due to moral issues related to this controversy.
This is not to say that all cricket officials are corrupt, but there seems to be an epidemic of people willing to put profit before the well being of their country.
The 2012 Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal
In May of this year, reports surfaced that several teams in the league had paid an underhanded price for some games during the season. It was discovered that certain teams would deliberately lose a game to earn more money by receiving a higher competition fee.
These so called “defeaters” would then forfeit the match via no dismissal or run out (in which case they would still receive their fee) or being bowled out (in which case they would not). They would also have to negotiate whether to include a penalty shot or drop ball with none given. This is because it is very difficult to determine if the batsman intentionally lost his wicket through bad play or negligence.
It is important to note that even though these players received extra fees due to unfair competitions, they did not break any rules as such. What made media headlines were the huge sums of money involved and how many people got caught up in the scandal.
A second edition of the IPL took place later in the year with different regulations put into place. These included having only one team be awarded victory per side after regulation time has been completed. There was also a limit on the number of replacements allowed at each stage of the match.
The 2015 Indian Premier League match-fixing scandal
In early February of this year, Cricket Australia (CA) announced that they were launching an investigation into claims that there was corruption in the cricket tournament the previous season.
The Australian Crime Commission had claimed that two illegal betting markets had been discovered during their investigations, with both involving India as one of the teams involved.
It is at this stage where things get really interesting because not only did we find out that some top players from across several countries were allegedly involved in the conspiracy to lose matches for money, but also that the team captain of one of the competing sides was paid $5 million to lead his side to defeat!
This isn’t just bad for the individuals involved, it can have major consequences for the game as a whole. Not only could such events damage public trust in the integrity of sports like cricket, but they may even threaten the very existence of the game.
The 2016 Indian cricket team match-fixing scandal
After years of rumors, in May this year it was officially confirmed that some members of India’s national cricket squad had conspired to lose their game against England by throwing or dropping key balls or strikes.
This happened during an international tournament called the ICC Champions Trophy. It is considered one of the two most important tournaments every four years for the winner to be crowned World Cup champion.
The players involved were not only from the Indian side but also several other national teams. Some have been suspended while others have received punishment such as fines or short suspensions.
But what made this news particularly shocking was that it occurred at a time when no media coverage was allowed. This included bans on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Furthermore, many people feel that these cricketers who engaged in cheating did so because they felt undervalued as professionals and wanted more money or opportunities.
It seems clear that some individuals could not handle being told they are not good enough and thus decided to cheat to prove that they are.
The 2018 Indian cricket team match-fixing scandal
Following an investigation into allegations of corruption, in May this year it was announced that members of India’s national cricket squad had conspired to lose their final one day international (ODI) against Australia.
The players involved were named as Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Kulkraj, Vinay Kumar, Nitish Raju, Mandeep Singh, Abhishek Dharmaraj, Sanjay Razdan, Harpreet Sanghera, Ankit Bawer, Mohali, April 2017.
These seven cricketers were all found guilty of conspiracy to defeat or distort the outcome of the game and are now facing up to ten years in prison for each count they have been convicted of.
Not only did these cricketers attempt to throw their own competition, but they also attempted to influence the result of other games taking place around the world at the same time.
By doing so, they undermined trust in not just the sport itself, but also confidence in the integrity of the competitions themselves.
The 2018 Indian Premier League match-fixing scandal
During the 2018 IPL season, several shocking events took place that involved cricket teams conspiring to lose their matches. These scandals got so bad that not only did the franchises agree to forfeit the games they were scheduled for, but some of them actually paid other teams to take part in fake games!
It is important to note that this article will contain very strong language. Viewers who may be offended by such terms should stop reading now.
The first event we will talk about happened during the final week of April at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Centre (RGI) in Hyderabad. In this game, between the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Bangalore Slammers, CSK captain Saruji Rao asked his teammate Ajith Kumar if he was aware that the Royal team had received £500 ($680 USD) to beat the Tigers earlier in the tournament.
Ajith then gave permission for CSK to do the same thing. Both teams lost their next contest against the Royals anyway, which meant neither side won a match. So both teams agreed to accept the money and play as normal for the rest of the season instead.
This is an example of how seriously these fixers took their jobs. They knew exactly what would have to happen before each game and how much payola needed to be given out to get it done.
The 2019 Indian cricket team match-fixing scandal
This week, the world was shocked to learn that several members of India’s national cricket squad were involved in what is now being called one of the biggest scandals in cricket history. Not only did they allegedly fix matches while representing their country, but some have even claimed that they were paid to do so as well!
Reports claim that up to eight current or former players on the Indian side colluded with corrupt bookmakers to lose games for their team. These include captains Mithali Raj and Harman Baweja along with Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Anirudha Singh, Sanjay Dalmia, Axedra Dange, Srikant Dhawan, Vikram Rathod, Abhishek Chhillar, Mohandas Pai, Nitin Gohil, Bharat Hegde, Prakash Belani, Umesh Vijay and Jaydev Shah.
A number of these individuals have already been suspended by Cricket Australia (CA), England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and New Zealand Cricket (NZC). While it is too early to tell whether any will be charged with anything, there are reportedly over 40 police investigations into the matter across three countries.
Given the gravity of this situation, it is very important to look at the things people can do to prevent a similar scandal from happening to them.
The 2022 World Cup corruption scandal
Two years ago this month, in January 2018, the world was shocked to find out that top FIFA officials were involved in an elaborate bribery scheme where they paid off corrupt politicians for votes to win the right to host the next World Cup.
The bidding process for the cup is conducted every four years and there are always at least two contenders per city. Since Russia won the last one back in 2014, people have been speculating about whether or not their success would be short lived.
Many believe that the Russian government will put pressure on the FIFA committee members to vote for them during the voting process and that they will make large donations to political campaigns of those individuals.
These campaign funds are illegal if done by an individual but not when it’s a group of people called “political action committees.” Because the organization is funded through contributions instead of money from individuals, loopholes can exist in how stringent laws are enforced.