Cricket ‘Fixed’ Time and Again
As the latest ‘spot-fixing’ controversy hits cricket once again, let us remind ourselves that this is not the first time that the game has been haunted by this ‘menacing demon’.
Here is a peek into the past, where we’ll see, when and how the devil of ‘match-fixing’ marred the face of cricket time and again!
April 7, 2000 – The first blow!
Skipper Hansie Cronje, in particular, and several other Proteas players were charged by the Delhi police for fixing South Africa’s ODIs against India in March for money. Transcripts of an alleged conversation between Cronje and Sanjay Chawla, an Indian businessman (who was suggested to be a bookie) were released. Players like Herschelle Gibbs, Pieter Strydom and Nicky Boje were alleged to have taken money from Chawla. Cronje, however, rubbished the entire issue.
April 11, 2000 – ‘Yes, I did it’
After a lot of denial, Cronje finally confessed to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) managing director, Ali Bacher, that he “had been dishonest” over his activities in India. Cronje said that he received USD 10,000 to 15,000 for “providing information and forecast but not match-fixing” during the one-day series in India. The CSA, thereafter, sacked Cronje.
April 20, 2000 – Umpiring alterations?
South African umpires Cyril Mitchley and Rudi Koertzen made a sensational claim that they too were offered money to influence results of matches at different points of time.
April 28, 2000 – CBI probe in India ordered!
Looking at the condition of international cricket then, the Indian government ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe if any Indian cricketer or official was involved in match-fixing.
April 30, 2000 – Limelight on Sri Lanka!
The Sunday Times revealed that three Sri Lankan players, namely, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinha and Sanath Jayasuriya, were approached during the 1992 Australian tour of Sri Lanka by some Indian bookmakers. Reports claimed that the players were offered money to leak information about the match. They, however, refused to cooperate at the time of investigation and this was confirmed by the Sri Lankan board.
May 6, 2000 - Australia appoints investigator!
Cricket Australia appointed an independent investigator to examine alleged match-fixing and bribery reports. The board, however, refused to review the case of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, who were earlier penalised providing pitch and weather information to bookies on the 1994 tour of Sri Lanka.
May 24, 2000 - The Justice Qayyum Report
After a year-long inquiry, former captain Saleem Malik and medium-pacer Ata-ur-Rehman were found guilty of fixing matches by a report prepared by Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum. These players were hence banded for life. The report also refrained Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmed from Pakistan captaincy in future.
June 7, 2000 – Can of worms spilled!
Major revelations cropped up as many South African players came up with their confessions. Pat Symcox confessed to the King Commission that Cronje approached him earlier in 1994-95 to persuade him to ‘throw’ a match against Pakistan. He also claimed that Cronje had conveyed an offer of $250,000 dollars to lose an ODI during their tour to India in 1996. Later, Herschelle Gibbs, Henry Williams and Pieter Strydom confessed to have been offered money by Cronje to under-perform during their ODI and Test tour of India earlier in the year.
Nicky Boje, however, expressed his surprise in front of the King Commission about reports of being involved in the match-fixing scandal and said that he had never been approached by Cronje with an ‘offer’.
June 10, 2000 – Immunity for Cronje!
After a series of confessions during the King Commission hearings, Cronje was offered immunity from criminal prosecution in South Africa if he truthfully discloses his entire role in the scandal.
June 12, 2000 - Bacher’s revelations
Meanwhile, Ali Bacher revealed former Pakistan cricket chief executive Majid Khan told him that two World Cup matches in 1999, involving Pakistan, were fixed; one match was against India, the other against Bangladesh. The claims were, however, dismissed by all the cricket boards. Also according to Bacher, an Indian bookmaker revealed to him that Pakistani umpire Javed Akhtar was “on the payroll” when he made eight crucial decisions during South Africa-England Leeds Test in 1998.
June 13, 2000 - Kallis’ authentication
Jacques Kallis confirmed evidence by Mark Boucher and Lance Klusener that Cronje made an ‘offer’ to them in a hotel room before the second Test against India in Bangalore in March 2000.
June 15, 2000 - Cronje resigns, accuses Azhar
Cronje confessed to the Kings Commission to have taken about USD 100,000 in bribes from gamblers since 1996, but never threw or fix a match. He also announced his retirement from cricket with an interesting revelation that former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin introduced him to a bookie during 1996 Test in India. Azharuddin called the allegation “rubbish”.
June 17, 2000 – Lara under scanner!
The West Indies Cricket Association investigated Brian Lara’s involvement in any betting on individual performances during England-South Africa tri-series in 1993. A week later, the board confirms Lara’s innocence.
June 23, 2000 – Teary Cronje!
Cronje broke down to tears by the end of his three-day cross examination by the King Commission in Cape Town. He gave out clear evidence of having accepting money from bookmakers. Cronje later begged for forgiveness as Sir Paul Condon is appointed director of ICC’s anti-corruption investigation.
July 20, 2000 – Indian players raided
Home of several Indian players, including those of then national coach Kapil Dev, former players Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia and Nikhil Chopra, were raided by the Indian income tax officials. Later in September, Kapil resigned from his position owing to the corruption inquiry being carried out in the team.
August 28, 2000 – Gibbs, Williams banned
The UCBSA banned Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams from international cricket until December 31, 2000, for their role in the match-fixing scandal, while Pieter Strydom is acquitted of conspiring to bet on the outcome of the Centurion Test in January.
October 11, 2000 - Life ban for Cronje
The UCBSA imposes a life ban on Cronje, which implied on all the UCBSA’s related cricket activities as well as that of its affiliates.
October 31, 2000 – Azhar in a ‘fix’!
CBI’s report revealed Mohammad Azharuddin, the then skipper of the Indian cricket team, confessed to fixing games with the help of Ajay Jadeja and Nayan Mongia. However, the report found no evidence against Kapil Dev.
November 6, 2000 – Lankan links!
After bookmaker MK Gupta exposed the names of Brian Lara, Dean Jones, Alec Stewart, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Martin Crowe and Saleem Malik in several match-fixing scandals, the Sri Lankan cricket board appointed a one-man inquiry commission investigate Ranatunga and de Silva. Both were cleared of all charges in July 2001 due to inadequate evidence.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket board too announced an investigation into Crowe’s alleged involvement. He too was later cleared in July 2001 of any wrongdoing.
November 27, 2000 – Azhar testified!
Mohammad Azharuddin was found guilty of match-fixing, while Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Sharma and former Indian team physio Ali Irani were found guilty of having links with bookies. Nayan Mongia, however, came out clean.
BCCI, thereafter, slapped a life ban on Azharuddin, and ruled Ajay Jadeja out of international cricket for five years. Ajay Sharma was also banned for life, while Prabhakar and Irani, were barred from holding any official post in Indian cricket for five years.
Later, Jadeja’s ban was revoked by the Delhi High Court in January 2003 as there was no concrete proof of his guilt. In May 2003, the court allowed Jadeja to play domestic cricket.
June 22, 2002 - World Cup investigated
Pakistan’s Bhandari Commission investigated the Pakistan-Bangladesh match in the 1999 World Cup and came out with a report with little credible evidence.
August 17, 2004 - Odumbe banned
Kenyan Cricket Association levied a five-year ban on former captain Maurice Odumbe after he was found guilty of receiving money from bookmakers on several occasions.
October 12, 2006 – Gibbs interrogated
The Delhi police interrogated Herschelle Gibbs for over two hours about South Africa’s tour of India in 2000. Gibbs allegedly named Derek Crookes for being involved in match-fixing. Crookes denied the allegation, saying he was cleared by the King Commission.
May 13, 2008 – ‘Fixing’ Samuels!
Marlon Samuels was banned for two years for allegedly passing on match-related information to an Indian bookie during West Indies’ ODI series in India in 2007.
May 15, 2010 - County too not spared
Essex cricketer Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield were arrested but not charged after an investigation into betting irregularities.
August 29, 2010 – For the latest, let’s go to Pakistan!
International cricket received another major blow after bookie Mazhar Majeed revealed in a sting operation by News of the World that he bribed Pakistan bowlers to bowl no-balls on demand during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s.
Skipper Salman Butt, pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir, wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and youngsters Umar Amin and Wahab Riaz are currently under the scanner for the same.
May 14, 2011- ‘IPL Fixed’
In between the frenzy of slam-bang cricket that IPL has become synonymous with came a startling revelation of spot-fixing during its fifth edition. A sting operation conducted by a news channel claimed to have unearthed shady deals among players, owners and organizers.
Expressing shock at the development, the BCCI promptly stepped into action calling for emergency meeting of the IPL governing council and vowing to take appropriate action against the wrongdoers.
Compiled by Sudeshna Guha Roy