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.
During the third Test of the 1981 Ashes series, Australian players Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh placed a bet on England to win the match after the odds had ballooned out to 500–1. Australia were widely expected to win the match with England at 7/135 after having been made to follow-on. In a remarkable rear-guard effort, England did indeed win the match following brilliant performances from Ian Botham and Bob Willis, and Lillee and Marsh duly collected £7,500 (equivalent to ₤25,925 in 2015). There has never been any suggestion that the players deliberately underperformed to ensure their bet succeeded; nevertheless, the failure of cricket authorities to censure Lillee and Marsh at the time has led some to suggest that it contributed to the match-fixing scandals of the 1990s and 2000s.
Another scandal was Mark Waugh and Shane Warne's payments from "John the bookmaker" on a tour of Sri Lanka in 1994. The players had received $4,000 and $5,000 respectively from the bookmaker for pitch and weather information. When the then Australian Cricket Board found out about the incident in 1995, it fined the players. Nevertheless, the board withheld the information from the general public at the time, who were not informed until 1998. The Australian Cricket Board received widespread criticism for not immediately announcing the scandal. A later 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 future players should be punished by not only fines, but also by suspensions.
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. The Pakistani players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were later jailed and banned from cricket.
In 2013, three cricketers from New Zealand were approached by the ICC in regards of match fixing, later named as Lou Vincent, Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey. In 2014, Vincent admitted to being involved in match 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.
- The 2016 Hindi film Azhar is based on the life of Mohd. Azharudhin.Emran HAshmi plays his role.
- 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". 24 February 1999. Retrieved 9 November 2006.
- "Famous Cricket Spot-Fixing and Betting Scandals". 12 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- "ACB Player Conduct Inquiry Report". Retrieved 9 November 2006.
- "Our team will throw two ODIs".
- "'Pak players were in touch with bookies during T20 WC'".