Cricket has seen its fair share of scandals in recent years. Shady dealings involving cricketers, bookmakers, and other people have rocked the cricket world in recent years. But some of these cricket scandals shook the beautiful sport more than others.
Here’s our list of the 7 biggest match-fixing cricket scandals in recent years and all the details you need to know about each one.
Mohammad Azharuddin’s Controversy
Mohammad Azharuddin, a highly accomplished batsman and skipper of Team India in the 90s, found himself embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in 2000. South African cricketer Hansie Cronje, who was involved in fixing matches, revealed that Mohammad introduced him to bookies, leading to Cronje admitting his wrongdoings.
The police found Azharuddin guilty of match-fixing in at least three ODIs, resulting in a permanent ban imposed by the ICC and BCCI. Azharuddin, at one point, claimed that he was a victim of a conspiracy due to his Muslim identity. However, in 2012, an Indian high court lifted the ban, allowing him to resume his cricketing career.
Marlon Samuels’ Allegations
During the ICC World T20 in 2012, Marlon Samuels was part of the West Indies cricket team that emerged victorious. However, in 2008, suspicions arose that he had leaked information about team tactics to a bookie before a game in Nagpur between The West Indies and India.
Though Samuels vehemently denied any wrongdoing, telephone conversation recordings provided enough evidence to indict him, leading to a two-year ban. After serving the suspension, Marlon Samuels made a successful comeback to cricket.
The Sanjay Chawla and Hansie Cronje Match-Fixing Scandal
In 2000, a match-fixing scandal shook the cricket world when the New Delhi Police disclosed incriminating conversations between South African cricket star Hansie Cronje and Sanjay Chawla.
Cronje, a beloved figure among fans, became embroiled in controversy due to his association with Chawla, a popular member of a betting syndicate. At first, Cronje vehemently denied all accusations of match-fixing; however, he eventually gave in during cross-examination.
As a consequence of his involvement, Hansie Cronje got a lifelong ban from participating in cricket. Tragically, in 2002, he died in a plane crash, sparking rumors of foul play. Despite the scandal tarnishing his legacy, Cronje’s cricketing prowess remains etched in the memories of many admirers.
The 2000 Match-Fixing Controversy
In 1998, Indian cricketer Manoj Prabhakar shocked the cricketing community when he provided the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with alarming information; triggering a notorious match-fixing scandal in cricket history.
Prabhakar accused a teammate of offering a 25 lakhs rupees bribe to underperform during a 1994 cricket match against Pakistan. The investigation fingered Kapil Dev.
In 2000, prominent cricket players and officials; including Ajay Sharma and Azharuddin were slapped with a lifetime ban after raids were conducted at their homes. The police also accused Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, and Ajay Sharma of being connected to bookies.
Mervyn Westfield’s Spot-Fixing Confession
English cricketer Mervyn Westfield admitted to being involved in spot-fixing; becoming the first player from England to plead guilty in major match-fixing cricket scandals. Westfield was arrested in 2012 under suspicion of “irregularities” during the 2009 domestic season.
He confessed to accepting a bribe of £6,000 to bowl a wide intentionally. In 2012, he was sentenced to 4 months jail time; and the English Cricket Board (ECB) slapped a lifetime ban on him. Westfield can no longer play cricket in England or Wales.
Salim Malik’s Involvement
Salim Malik, a former captain of Team Pakistan in the 80s and 90s, was renowned for his cricketing skills until his association with one of the most popular match-fixing scandals came to light. During a series involving South Africa and Zimbabwe, Malik was suspended as captain amidst allegations of match-fixing.
While Malik initially denied the accusations; he was found guilty by the appropriate authorities, leading to a life ban from cricket. His illustrious playing career, which included over 100 Test matches; ended due to the severe consequences of his involvement in match-fixing.
The Involvement of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh
During the mid-1990s; Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Mark Waugh faced allegations of providing pitch and weather information to Indian bookmaker; John the Bookmaker, in exchange for monetary benefits. The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) initially tried to cover up one of the biggest cricket scandals of the 90s, but the truth came out later on.
Interestingly, Shane Warne testified against Pakistan skipper, Saleem Malik, in a separate match-fixing case, which cast doubts on his own credibility.