Betting controversies in cricket
Cricket has had a number of controversies relating to players being involved with the betting aspects of the game. In particular, numerous players have been approached by bookmakers and bribed to, throw matches, aspects of matches (e.g. the toss) or provide other information.
1999-2000 India-South Africa match fixing scandal
In 2000, the Delhi police intercepted a conversation between a blacklisted bookie and the South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje in which they learnt that Cronje accepted money to throw matches. The South African government refused to allow any of its players to face the Indian investigation unit. A court of inquiry was set up and Cronje admitted to throwing matches. He was immediately banned from all cricket. He also named Saleem Malik (Pakistan), Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja (India). Jadeja was banned for 4 years. They too were banned from all cricket. As a kingpin, Cronje exposed the dark side of betting, however with his untimely death in 2002 most of his sources also have escaped law enforcement agencies. Two South African cricketers, Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, were also listed as wanted by the Delhi police for their role in the match fixing saga.
But the fountainhead of the betting syndicates is Dawood Ibrahim’s D Company. "Many think that the bookies fix matches. That’s not true as punters in Dubai are the ones who call the shots," says a top Mumbai bookie. For any India-Pakistan clash, especially in Sharjah (the hub of match-fixing, say bookies), Dawood-controlled betting syndicates step in and Mumbai bookies, as an unwritten rule, lay off. And Dawood’s influence extends to players as well.
Among the scandals were Mark Waugh and Shane Warne's fines from the Australian Cricket Board for offering information about the weather and pitch information to "John the bookmaker". The report by Rob O'Regan QC, concluded that cricketers were not fully informed about the dangers of interacting with bookmakers, and although no further punishment could be given to either Waugh or Warne, in the future players should be punished by not only fines, but also by suspensions.
In 1995 Australian batsman Mark Waugh, received $4,000 and Australian bowler Shane Warne was paid $5,000 to provide pitch and weather conditions to “John” an Indian bookmaker during a tour of Sri Lanka. Although the players were fined in 1995 for the corruption, the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) remained unscathed until 1998 when it was vilified for its alleged co-conspiratorial cover-up of the illicit information gathering.
The ICC was slow to react, but did eventually in 2000 set up an Anti-Corruption and Security Unit headed by Sir Paul Condon, former head of London's Metropolitan Police. It claims to have reduced corruption in cricket to a 'reducible minimum'.
During the 4th Test of 2010 Pakistani tour of England, English newspaper News of the World published a story with allegations that Mazhar Majeed and some of the Pakistani players were involved in spot fixing.
In popular culture
- The 2009 Hindi film, 99, starring Kunal Khemu, Boman Irani, Soha Ali Khan and Cyrus Broacha, is set in the year 1999, with the India-South Africa match fixing controversy as the backdrop.
- The 2008 Hindi film, Jannat, directed by Kunal Deshmukh and starring Emran Hashmi, Sonal Chauhan and Javed Sheikh is also based on Match fixing.
- It's Just Not Cricket
- Two more cricket bookies absconding after raids
- 'Azharuddin fixed matches for bookie M K Gupta...'
- "Findings of the O'Regan Player Conduct Inquiry". February 24, 1999. Retrieved 2006-11-09.
- "ACB Player Conduct Inquiry Report". Retrieved 2006-11-09.
- "Famous Cricket Spot-Fixing and Betting Scandals". 12June2013. Retrieved 22June2013.
- "Our team will throw two ODIs".
- "'Pak players were in touch with bookies during T20 WC'".