The cricketers, who are revered worldwide, have had a 'brain fade' moment which has seen them ended up indulging in unscrupulous practices. Over the years, there have been several cricketers who have been involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing. With the growing money in the game, the interest of the bookies were bound to soar high and the illegitimate approaches made to players grew too.
The Business Standard (TBS) picked 10 such prominent cricketers who were caught in such scandals and were banned from the game. This list focuses on the second category of banned cricketers – banned for life.
1. Mohammad Azharuddin
Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin is revered as one of the leading captains that the Indian team has ever had.
It would not be wrong to state that the men in blue started to flourish under his leadership in the late 90s.
A prolific batsman renowned for his nonchalant wristwork, Azharuddin reportedly fell in the trap of match-fixing. During the 2000 series against South Africa, he was alleged to have associations with bookies and was subsequently banned for life.
The reports claimed that he had introduced the South African skipper Hansie Cronje to betting.
Former South African captain Hansie Cronje was found guilty of forecasting the international matches. His associations with the bookmakers surfaced the media during the year 2000 when the Proteas played the Indian team.
It was during the same time when Mohammad Azharuddin was also named in the scandal. Cronje had stated that he was introduced to the bookies by the then-Indian captain.
As per some reports, Cronje had later admitted to the offense as well. Before the case could be further investigated, Hansie Cronje died in a plane crash in the following year.
3. S Sreesanth
Indian pace bowler S Sreesanth faced a life ban from the BCCI for his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal of the IPL 2013.
He was alleged to have bowled no balls at will and some proof tapes suggested the same as he was seen placing his hand towels in a particular position before bowling every no-ball.
He questioned the life ban and the Delhi police, along with the local court, acquitted him of all charges in the year 2015.
However, the BCCI continues to stand firm in its stance of handing him the life ban for his involvement in the scandal during his stint with the Rajasthan Royals.
4. Lou Vincent
Lou Vincent was a prolific middle-order batsman for New Zealand. For someone who has a Test high score of 224, allegations of match-fixing came as a big surprise.
He had his name dragged in such cases on multiple occasions. He had claimed that it was Chris Cairns who had offered him to fix matches.
Later, he was found guilty of not reporting the approaches made to him during the Bangladesh Premier League for three seasons.
Also, he was found guilty of fixing matches in the English domestic circuit. It was after this when he was handed a life ban.
5. Danish Kaneria
Danish Kaneria was once the primary spinner in the Pakistani lineup. Kaneria was renowned for extracting some serious turn in the subcontinental conditions.
He soon lost the favor of the selectors and then went to England to ply his trade for Essex in the English domestic season. Kaneria was then arrested by the police in the year 2012 for 'match irregularities'.
He was later cleared of all allegations later.
However, the ECB disciplinary panel found him guilty and handed him a life ban. The PCB agreed to abide by the decision. In the year 2013, Kaneria appealed against the ban but in vain.
6. Saleem Malik
The iconic middle-order batsman Saleem Malik's name goes down in the world of cricket as the first cricketer ever to be jailed for his associations with the bookies. He was one of the few players who could easily negotiate the turn of Shane Warne with ease. He was the first player to be banned from all forms of the game for match-fixing.
It was Justice Qayyum's inquiry that found him guilty. Later, players like Mark Waugh and Shane Warne testified the fact that Malik had tried to convince them to throw away the 1994-95 Karachi Test.
He questioned the ban in the year 2001 but the Lahore High Court rejected his plea.
The ban was eventually lifted by a lower court in the year 2008.
7. Shariful Haque
Former Bangladeshi quick bowler Shariful Haque was banned for an indefinite period by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).
The BCB President had confirmed the same during a press interaction in the year 2012.
Apparently, it was his involvement in spot-fixing during the Bangladesh Premier League in 2012 that saw him being banned.
The allegations were confirmed and substantiated by veteran cricketer Mashrafe Mortaza. "He [Shariful] will not be allowed to take part in any cricketing activities in the country in any capacity," AHM Mustafa Kamal, the then board chief, had said.
8. Ajay Sharma
During the time when Mohammad Azharuddin found his name in the match-fixing scandal, another cricketer who was handed a life ban was Ajay Sharma.
He was found guilty for having associations with the bookies in the year 2000. Other cricketers like Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar were handed five-year bans in the same case.
It was a disappointing end to a very promising batsman's career. He averaged close to 68 in First-Class cricket and had amassed 10120 runs.
However, his involvement in the case saw his Test career curtailed after having played only 1 Test.
The ban was lifted in the year 2014 by the BCCI.
Pakistan has been famous for producing quality fast bowlers in world cricket. Ata-ur-Rehman was one such name that burst out on the big stage in the early 1990s.
He was known for maintaining his line and lengths combined with a brisk pace.
He made his debut for Pakistan in the year 1992 at the bare age of 17.
He was banned by the ICC and was handed a life ban for his dealings with the bookmakers in the year 2000.
It was the time when the ICC had a major crackdown at the match-fixing claims and allegations. Later in 2007, he was freed of all charges by the ICC but he did not make a comeback to the game.
10. Gulam Bodi
The name of South African cricketer Gulam Bodi seems to be an unusual name in the list of people being handed a life ban. Albeit he did not get a life ban, he did get a ban of 20 years from Cricket South Africa!
Well, that pretty much equates to a life ban nonetheless. Bodi was found guilty of fixing matches in the domestic T20 tournament of South Africa.
It was in the Ram Slam T20 Series in 2015 where he had reportedly fixed matches. The CSA had a major crackdown on the issue and handed him a ban of 20 years.
Along with Bodi, the likes of Thami Tsolekile and Lonwabo Tsotsobe were also banned for specific time periods.