HomeSportsCricketTop 10 Biggest Cricket Scandals: From Ball Tampering to Match-Fixing

Top 10 Biggest Cricket Scandals: From Ball Tampering to Match-Fixing

The Britishers invented Cricket in the late eighteenth century. Since then Cricket is called a gentleman’s game but often ungentlemanly things take place on the field. Fights and quarrels on the field, match fixing, spot fixing, ball tampering, we have seen some of the biggest cricket scandals who took the cricket world by storm. Let us recall some of those cricket scandals.

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The Sydney Test (2008)

Sydney Test Harbhajan vs Symonds
Image Source: rediff

The 2008 Sydney Test match between India and Australia is remembered for all the wrong reasons. The test match saw spats between Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.

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Symonds accused Harbhajan of using racist term towards him. Harbhajan was banned for three games but later acquitted at an ICC hearing.

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Bob Woolmer’s Death (2007)

Bob Woolmer Death 2007
File Image Source: First Post

Bob Woolmer was Pakistan’s Coach in the 2007 World Cup which was held in West Indies. Pakistan was knocked out of the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the group stage and Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room. Police launched a murder investigation, and one report suggested he had died of asphyxiation through strangulation.

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However, that report would be disproved and he was said to have died of a heart attack, although doubts are still raised to this day about the verdict.

The Underarm Ball (1981)

Underarm Ball scandal 1981
File Image Source: Herald Sun

It was the World Series Cup in 1981, Australia was playing against New Zealand. The Black Caps needed 6 runs off the last ball but it was not to be. The Australian captain Greg Chappell instructed his brother Trevor to bowl his last ball underarm, something that was not prohibited by the ICC. It was said to be against the spirit of the game and later the rule was changed.

England Boycotts World Cup Games (2003)

England boycotted World Cup in 2003
Image Source: Reuters/Money Control

The 2003 World Cup was held in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe but there were concerns about the players’ safety in the latter two countries. The Human Rights violations in Zimbabwe were well documented, England boycotted their game in the country, a decision that cost them as they were knocked out.

In addition, fears over security in Kenya led New Zealand to forfeit their game, which cost the Black Caps points and helped Kenya reach the semifinals for the first time.

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Ball Tampering Allegations on Pakistan (2006)

Ball Tampering Pakistan 2006
File Image Source: ESPN Cric Info

In the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at the Oval, umpire Darrell Hair was convinced that the fielding Pakistan team was tampering with the ball, and rather than issuing a warning, the umpire awarded England five penalty runs.


Inzamam Ul Haq and his Pakistan team was furious and refused to take the field after tea, at which point the umpires declared they had forfeited the game and removed the stumps.

Hansie Cronje Match-Fixing (2000)

Hansie Cronje match fixing
File Image Source: Deccan Chronicle

There is little doubt that Hansie Cronje was one of the better captains to have graced the game but the South African captain conspired with a bookmaker to engineer a result in a Test. It was in 2000 against England at Centurion. Three days had been lost due to rain and the Proteas captain was involved in the fixing of the game.

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Cronje’s involvement in match-fixing came to light a few months later, and he resigned in disgrace before being banned from the sport for life.

Pakistan Spot-Fixing (2010)

Pakistan Spot Fixing 2010
File Image Source:

Three Pakistan players – Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt – were involved in spot-fixing in a Test match against England at the Oval. After a sting operation by the News of the World, the three were found to have conspired to deliberately bowl no-balls during the Test match.

They were all banned for varying amounts of time. Mohammad Amir made his comeback into the National side but the other two haven’t found a place in the team yet.

Indian Premier League Spot-Fixing (2013)

IPL match fixing controversy
Image Source: HT

The 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting case arose when the Delhi Police arrested three cricketers, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, on the charges of alleged spot-fixing. The three represented the Rajasthan Royals in the 2013 Indian Premier League.

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In July 2015, Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan were cleared of all the charges after they were found not guilty by the Patiala House Courts. However, in January 2016, Chandila was given a life ban from all forms of cricket by the BCCI. In March 2019, the Supreme Court lifted the life ban imposed by BCCI on Sreesanth.

Terror Attack in Pakistan (2009) | Pakistan Cricket Scandal

In March 2009, the Sri Lankan team was travelling from their hotel to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in their team bus when terrorists fired bullets on the bus killing six security men and two civilians. Sri Lankan players Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paravitarana received minor injuries.

The Lahore Test was immediately abandoned and the tour called off. The Sri Lankan team was evacuated from the Gaddafi stadium and taken to a nearby airbase.

Sandpaper Gate (2018)

Sandpaper Gate 2018
File Image Source:

In March 2018, the Australian cricket team was involved in a ball-tampering scandal during and after the third Test match against South Africa in Cape Town when Cameron Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper to make it swing in flight.

Captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were found to be involved and all three received unprecedented sanctions from Cricket Australia. Australia’s coach, Darren Lehmann, announced he would step down from his role following the scandal. Smith and Warner were handed a year ban while Bancroft was banned for 9 months.

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What are some infamous cricket scandals in history?

Some notable cricket scandals include the match-fixing scandal involving Hansie Cronje, the ball-tampering scandal involving the Australian cricket team, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal.

What is match-fixing in cricket?

Match-fixing refers to the manipulation of the outcome of a cricket match by players, officials, or outside individuals for personal gain. It involves illegally influencing aspects such as runs scored, wickets taken, or the overall result of the game.

What happened in the ball-tampering scandal involving the Australian cricket team?

In the ball-tampering scandal, Australian players were caught using sandpaper to alter the condition of the cricket ball during a match against South Africa in 2018. This act was seen as a breach of the spirit of the game and resulted in significant repercussions for the players involved.

What was the IPL spot-fixing scandal?

The IPL spot-fixing scandal refers to a controversy in the Indian Premier League where players were allegedly involved in fixing specific moments or events within a match, such as the number of runs scored in an over or the timing of a dismissal. It led to arrests, bans, and a tarnished reputation for the tournament.

Gaurav Kadam
Gaurav Kadam
Gaurav Kadam is a young sportswriter and journalist who is a huge cricket enthusiast. He is a bibliophile and a movie and American TV series buff, who is completely addicted to Netflix. Gaurav is liberal in thoughts and agnostic in deeds.



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