New Delhi: As news of Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) pitch curator Pandurang Salgaoncar agreeing to tweak the pitch according to the demands of bookies — in a sting operation done by India Today — broke out, it once again reminded one and all about the dark side of the 'Gentleman's Game'.
Salgaonkar was caught on camera telling bookies that the pitch can made according to their ('bookies') demands. He even took the investigators onto the pitch, thus violating the rules of both the BCCI and the ICC.
CricketNext takes a look at five previous instances when corruption brought shame to the game:
1: Hansie Cronje/ Mohammed Azharuddin Match-fixing Scandal
Hansie Cronje was a hero in his homeland of South Africa. He was regarded as one of the finest to have ever played the game of cricket and one of the top-notch leaders of the modern day game. However, all this changed in 2000 when it was revealed that he was one of the masterminds of the game's biggest fixing scandal.
It was also alleged that former India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin played an important role in the whole controversy. He was also banned for associating with bookmakers and for allegedly providing information to bookies and introducing Hansie Cronje to betting. While Azhar was banned for life, the sentence was overturned on November 8, 2012 as the case was deemed unsustainable.
Meanwhile, Cronje was found guilty of accepting monetary rewards from bookmakers for providing information and for fixing matches and was subsequently banned for life.
2. IPL Spot-fixing Saga 2013
In the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League, the Delhi Police arrested three Rajasthan Royals cricketers — Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — on charges of spot-fixing. All three were banned from the game. As a result of the controversy, N Srinivasan had to step down as BCCI president as his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan (then team principal of CSK) was charged for betting and was handed a life ban.
Following a thorough investigation by Justice Lodha Panel (which was formed by the Supreme Court), Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings were suspended from the cash-rich league for two years. Also, the Committee of Administrators was formed by the SC for the implementation of the Lodha Reforms that was supposed to rework the constitution of the richest board in the world.
3. Pakistan Players Agree to Under-perform at Lord’s in 2010
The spot-fixing scandal of 2010 when Pakistan players agreed to act according to the demands of bookies rocked the world of cricket. Then skipper Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were convicted of taking bribes from a bookmaker, Mazhar Majeed, to under-perform deliberately in the Lord's Test. While Butt and Asif refused to accept any wrongdoing to start with, Amir accepted that he committed a mistake. Having served a ban, Amir returned to international cricket and was instrumental in Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy earlier this year.
4. Shane Warne and Mark Waugh Pass Pitch Information to Bookies
Mark Waugh and Shane Warne were found out to have passed on information about the pitch and weather condition to bookies in return for payment during the Singer World Series tournament in Sri Lanka. Apart from Australia, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were a part of the tournament in 1994. While they initially did not report the matter to the board, they did report Pakistan captain Salim Malik trying to get them to play poorly. The matter did come out and both the players were fined and let off.
5. Pakistan Super League Spot-fixing Fiasco in 2017
Spot-fixing returned to haunt Pakistan cricket in 2017 when Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) suspended six cricketers under its anti-corruption code during the 2017 edition of the Pakistan Super League. The cricketers involved were Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Mohammad Nawaz. Interestingly, Mohammad Irfan was also banned for a year for failing to report bookie approach to the board. In August 2017, Sharjeel was found guilty of fixing or influencing improperly the result of a match; seeking, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept bribe/reward to fix or ensure betting; failing to disclose corrupt approaches to PCB's VSD; failing to disclose to PCB's VSD any incident breaching PCB's anti-corruption code. He was banned for five years from all forms of cricket. Latif was also banned for five years and charged Rs 1 Million.