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 four years. They too were banned from all cricket. Two South African cricketers, Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, were also listed as wanted by the Delhi police for their role in the scandal.
2018 Sri Lanka cricket pitch tampering scandal
On 26 May, 2018 Al Jazeera news channel findings depict that possibly pitch tampering would have happened during the home test matches involving Sri Lanka against Australia in 2016 and against India in 2017. The news channel also stated that through monitoring the pitch conditions the fixers have managed easily to make money. Match-fixers Robin Morris, a former Indian domestic cricketer along with Dubai based business person Gaurav Rajkumar, Galle groundsman Tharanga Indika and Sri Lankan first-class cricketer Tharindu Mendis have also been investigated by the ICC for attempting another pitch tampering at Galle in Sri Lanka's forthcoming first test match against England as a part of the England's upcoming series against Sri Lanka in November 2018. Concerns also raised by the English Cricket Board whether to play away series against Sri Lanka over the planned pitch tampering at the Galle Cricket Stadium for the first Test match.
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 135-7 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 ₤28,237 in 2018). 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 fourth Test of 2010 Pakistani tour of England, News of the World published a story with allegations that Mazhar Majeed and some of the Pakistani players were involved in spot fixing. 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 to 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 2015 Hindi flim Calendar Girlssome part is based on the betting on the cricket.
- The 2016 Hindi film Azhar is based on the life of Mohd. Azharudhin. Emraan Hashmi plays his role.
- The 2018 Web flim Inside Edge is based on the betting on the domestic league.
- It's Just Not Cricket
- Two more cricket bookies absconding after raids Archived 10 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- 'Azharuddin fixed matches for bookie M K Gupta...'
- "Plot to fix England v Sri Lanka cricket test in Galle uncovered". Stuff. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
- "UK documentary alleges Sri Lankan groundstaff attempting to fix Test against England". TVNZ. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "Plot to fix England's first Test against Sri Lanka exposed". Mail Online. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "Galle Stadium curator named in fixing scandal, admits to doctoring pitches to benefit bookmakers in sting operation- Firstcricket News, Firstpost". FirstCricket. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- Nasim, Col (Retd) Rafi (May 3, 2000). "New dimensions in match-fixing scam". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- "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". Archived from the original on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 9 November 2006.
- Interview by Andrew Miller (July 7, 2010). "Paul Condon on the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit's role in preventing match-fixing: 'You'll never entirely eradicate fixing'". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- "Our team will throw two ODIs".
- "'Pak players were in touch with bookies during T20 WC'". Archived from the original on 31 August 2010.
- "3 NZ cricketers in fixing investigation". NZ Herald. AP. December 5, 2013. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- Dylan Cleaver and Andrew Alderson (September 5, 2014). "Cricket: Tuffey still in the dark about betting investigation". NZ Herald. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
- "Full text of Lou Vincent's statement". ESPNcricinfo. ESPN Sports Media. July 1, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2018.