The last 10 years have brought about a drastic revolution in the world of cricket. This period saw the emergence of a new generation of players, widening of the use of technology in the sport, growth of the franchise cricket, and much more. While this was on the positive side, many career-ending injuries and controversies accounted for the negative side, something which nobody wants to see.
With growing competition and money, many players have been lured towards the wrong side of the sport. Many have taken up to betting and fixing, just for the sake of money. Others have broken the basic rules, just to win a game. The ICC has taken harsh steps against such players and banned them for corruption.
On this note, let us take a look at 10 such instances in this decade (2010-2019) when players were banned/suspended for varying reasons:
Steve Smith, David Warner, Cameron Bancroft
In probably the darkest incident of the decade, the trio of Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft was banned in March 2018 after they were found guilty of an attempt to tamper the ball against South Africa. Bancroft admitted his mistake to match-referee Andy Pycroft. Later, Warner was found to be the mastermind behind all this, while Smith was guilty of not intervening as captain of the team despite knowing the truth.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) slapped the three with 75% of the match fees, along with a one-match ban. However, Cricket Australia (CA) imposed stricter measures and banned Bancroft for nine months, and the other two for a year. They were also banned by the BCCI from taking part in the IPL.
After completing their bans, Warner and Smith returned to international cricket with a bang. Warner finished as the highest run-getter in IPL 2019 and followed it with 647 runs in the World Cup. On the other hand, Smith wreaked havoc against England in the Ashes and regained his number one spot in Tests.
Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif
In 2010, Mohammad Amir along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif was banned for five years and even jailed for six months for indulging in the spot-fixing scandal. The trio was found guilty of taking bribes from Mazhar Majeed, the alleged bookie, during a Test Match at Lords, to underperform in the game.
If Abdul Razzaq’s words are to be believed, Amir himself confessed after he was slapped by Shahid Afridi. Eight years down the line, Shoaib Akhtar also opened up on this sad incident, saying that he was battling against 21 players on the field, 11 of the opposition and 10 of his team, who were engaged in spot-fixing.
Amir has made a comeback to the national team since then and was a key player for the side in a rather disastrous World Cup campaign. Even Asif and Butt made their comebacks in domestic circuit but they have not been picked yet in the team. However, they will always be guilty of one of the saddest incidences of Pakistan’s cricketing history.
Kevin Pietersen was banned for probably the saddest of all reasons. He wasn’t banned by ICC, but his team, due to a ‘massive lack of trust’ from his teammates. The former England batsman was accused of leaking information to the opposition team about Andrew Strauss‘ techniques and weaknesses.
Later, when Strauss became the director of the team, he played down Kevin Pietersen’s comeback. He was sacked from the England team since that fateful incident and never came back. Speaking about the same, Strauss clearly said that his removal wasn’t due to poor form or anything, but due to a lack of trust between the two.
At that time, Pietersen was still at the top of his form, but his career was shortened due to the conflict. Speaking about the exile, he clearly said that he was devastated by this act.
In 2013, Mohammed Ashraful was banned after engaging in spot-fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League. The Bangladeshi all-rounder himself confessed the mistake even before the verdict and was slapped with an 8-year-ban for the same.
However, the duration of the ban was reduced to 5 years by the chairman of BCB’s disciplinary panel on appeal. It included 2 years of suspension, which meant that he was eligible to participate in franchise cricket and domestic cricket since 13th August 2016.
Though 35 now, Ashraful has expressed his desire to make a comeback to the national team. With age not on his side, it would be interesting to see how the veteran player, who has represented the team in 61 tests and 177 ODIs, fulfils his dream of making a comeback.
On October 29, 2019, Shakib Al Hasan was banned by the ICC for two years, which includes one year of suspension, after he failed to report the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) about the match-fixers who approached him on multiple occasions.
Two years ago, a bookie had approached Shakib, but he didn’t report the same to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU). On January 19, 2018, Shakib received a WhatsApp message from Deepak Aggarwal, where he asked him for inside information. He was again contacted on 26th April 2018, where he was asked about the inclusion of a particular player in the playing XI during the IPL.
Though the southpaw didn’t reveal any information to the bookie, he didn’t report about the same to the anti-corruption officials or the BCB. He also accepted the ban, saying that the ACU is reliant on players to play a central part in the fight against corruption and he didn’t do his duty in this instance.
One of the emerging talents from India, Prithvi Shaw was banned in 2019, after being tested positive in the dope test. According to a statement from BCCI, Shaw had “inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups.”
Shaw had provided a urine sample to BCCI during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match on February 22 in Indore. On being tested, it was found to contain Terbutaline, which resulted in an 8-month ban from March 16 to November 15 for the 20-year-old right-hander. He admitted his mistake and accepted the ban.
Speaking about the ban, he told that it was a huge learning experience for him. He also spoke about being mentally strong, and the role of National Cricket Academy and Rahul Dravid in supporting him during tough times. He made his return to competitive cricket in style with a blitzkrieg 39-ball-63 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Alex Hales was banned by the England Cricket Board (ECB), after he was found guilty of using a prohibited recreational drug, for the second time in his career. The centrally contracted England players have to undergo hair follicle tests at the start of every season, and the right-hander failed it not for the first time.
But what followed next was even more devastating. Hales had been included in England’s preliminary squad for the World Cup 2019 but was withdrawn from the final squad. Ashley Giles, the managing director of England’s men cricket said that axing was important to maintain a nice atmosphere in the England dressing room.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time when Hales has been involved in controversies. He was also involved in Bristol nightclub fight. However, he had been a consistent performer for the team fo the past 2-3 years and it was a big decision from the ECB.
In 2013, S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, and Ajit Chandila were arrested on the grounds of spot-fixing during the IPL. The trio had been accused to have done fixing in multiple games, as well as to be involved in betting. For instance, Sreesanth was accused of accepting Rs 10 lakhs to concede 14 runs in the second over of the match between KXIP and RR.
Amidst all this, the speedster continued to defend himself, saying that he was innocent and not involved in all of this. However, N Srinivasan, the president of BCCI, handed him and Ankeet Chavan with a lifetime ban.
In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled out the BCCI disciplinary committee’s orders and shortened Sreesanth’s ban. He became eligible to play cricket this year and reportedly had started training as well. However, he hasn’t made his comeback officially to the game at any stage yet.
On 24th April 2017, the Cricket South Africa (CSA) banned Lonwabo Tsotsobe from cricket for 8 years. The bowler was found guilty of fixing a match and being involved in nine separate charges of failing to co-operate properly with various investigations. Apart from this, he was also involved in fixing scandal during the 2015 Ram Slam Twenty20 tournament.
Tsotsobe accepted all the sanctions imposed on him but blamed his poor financial conditions for getting attracted to the bribes. Five other players, namely Jean Symes, Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe, Thami Tsolekile, and Alviro Petersen have also been banned for breaching the code.
By the end of his ban, he would have turned 41, which means its already curtains on his career. Therefore, he has now turned to music and is fondly being called as DJ Tso. According to him, he has always loved music and liked to entertain his friends.
Shalabh was a promising talent for India. He was making rapid strides since the U19 World Cup, and then the Indian Premier League. However, he was among many of those players, who were caught in a sting operation by India TV, for indulging in corruption.
The operation revealed that the left-arm pacer had received black money from some other teams, and was ready to fix the game at certain times. For this, he was handed over a 5-year ban by the BCCI on 15th May 2012. However, Shalabh has maintained his stand against the charges, saying that he hasn’t got justice.
The ban has ended 2 years ago, but it was probably an end to his short career. All the promise surrounding his abilities remained unfulfilled, with him only featuring in the domestic cricket, that too for a very short time.
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