The origin of cricket dates back hundreds of years, with the earliest evidence of it being played as a sport hailing from around the 16th century in the south-eastern part of England. Today, it’s played all over the world, by both men and women, in several different forms of competition style.
Unfortunately, along with most other sports and recreational activities, there have been some bad times in the history of cricket. Making headlines all over the world, cricket has stunned fans and players far and wide, often leading to changes in rules and regulations as a result.
Here are three of the most controversial events in cricketing history.
The Hansie Cronje Scandal
A scandal that took the sporting world by storm, Hansie Cronje played was found to have played an instrumental role in the fixing of a Test against England. The match was played in Centurion and Cronje was the captain of the South African cricket team, the Proteas, at the time.
The unsportsmanlike behaviour was revealed a few months after the incident took place, leading to an immediate investigation and the subsequent uncovering of the truth. It was determined that Cronje had colluded with a bookmaker to produce a result against England.
The outcome of the investigation led to outrage in the sporting world, as well as the disappointment of Hansie’s teammates and South African fans. He went on resign shortly after and subsequently received a lifetime ban from the sport.
Michael Atherton and His “Dirt in the Pocket”
In 1995, five years prior to the Hansie scandal, another match up between South Africa and England caused a massive stir. During a match played at Lord’s in England, Brit, Michael Atherton, was caught doing something that appeared to many as suspicious.
Atherton was inadvertently filmed fiddling with the match ball, subsequently being accused of attempting to alter the condition of the ball. He went on to vehemently deny intentionally altering the ball, but he was eventually served with a fine for his sketchy behaviour.
His light punishment didn’t go down well across the board, with many calling for further investigation and harsher repercussions. However, it went now further.
Darrel Hair’s Infamous “No Ball” Call
Finally, Darrel Hair, a famous umpire came under scrutiny during a 1995 Boxing Day test match. Hair believed that Sri Lankan spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, was “throwing” the ball. Essentially, “throwing”, in cricket terms, refers to bowling with a straight arm – also known as “chucking” – which is illegal in cricket – something any Australian sports betting guide can tell you.
As a result of his suspicions, Darrel Hair called seven no-balls against Muralitharan, causing immediate controversy during the game amongst both players and spectators. In fact, the Sri Lankans were so upset that their captain took the whole team off the field briefly.
In the end, Muralitharan was confirmed to have been playing within the rules, as ruled by the ICC after further investigation. It wasn’t, however, the last time he was accused of “throwing”, but he hasn’t since been confirmed to be guilty.