Whenever we hear sports, the bell of entertainment starts ringing all around. We all often feel somehow connected with the inspirational stories of the top players on how they came from nothing and are now sitting at the top of the mountain. But controversy is no stranger to sports and every possible contention goes unnoticed by the fans and the media. There will always remain irreversible tarnishes on the legacies of every sport and that’s what we are going to talk about today.
Just like any other sport, cricket is also familiar with loads of controversies over the years. Despite being called a gentleman’s game, some sullying moments have followed cricket almost everywhere it’s been played. No, we are not talking about healthy competition that instills slight nudging and motivates players to do better. We are talking about the moments when things get really ugly on the field from some unwanted elements. We are going to talk about three instances today that degrade the spirit of the game.
1. Cricket World Cup Boycotts of Zimbabwe and Kenya
- Cricket World Cup, the biggest stage for all the cricketers to showcase their talent and compete against the best in the world to win the prestigious trophy for their country. Well, it was 2003 when one of the biggest controversies of cricket followed this festival of cricket. As the 2003 Cricket World Cup arrived in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, some of the teams including England and New Zealand raised concerns for playing in the latter two countries for varying reasons.
- At that moment Zimbabwe’s human rights abuses were very well documented by the world media. The irony was that England decided to boycott their matches in the country. A country who ruled the whole world decided to boycott their world cup games in Zimbabwe. We will give you a minute to let that sink in. It raised a lot of controversy but the fuel to fire was added when ICC decided not to do anything about it. It cost England dearly as they were knocked down and the matches they decided to boycott played a huge part in it. Many fans protested against this decision from the ICC but to be honest they really couldn’t do anything about it.
- The 2003 WC was really a nightmare because of the fears over security in Kenya, New Zealand decided to forfeit their game in the country. It knocked the Black Caps out of the tournament and helped Kenya reach the semi finals of the tournament.
2. South Africa Rebel Tour
- If you do not know then South African international cricket team was in exile to play international cricket due to its apartheid laws. The Apartheid was a system of legislation that upheld segregationist policies against non-white citizens of South Africa.
- Here comes the controversies, South Africa began to recruit top international players from Australia, England, West Indies and Sri Lanka to play in Africa. Since they were not allowed to do so, it started quite a big controversy all over the world. But things went ahead and in 1980, many top players toured South Africa without the permission of ICC and the tour was famously dubbed as, “The Rebel Tour.”
- The only reason for these players to visit was the big money which was paid to them by South Africa. However, the respective cricket boards from Australia, England, West Indies and Sri Lanka took it seriously and took some serious actions against the players who visited the African nation. Even life bans were handed to some cricketers. It is still considered one of the biggest controversies in the Cricketing world.
3. South Africa vs Australia 2018 Test Series
- This one is a fresh scenario that most of the cricket fans remember because it showed the dark side of some of the biggest names in World Cricket. You might be saying, what? South Africa again? Well, yes but this time it’s Australia who have skeletons in their closet.
- If you are following cricket for a long time now then you know that Australia and controversy are inseparable. But this time they really made a bigger mistake. Yes, yes we are getting to the incident. Let us add some chilly to the already spiced up curry. Because this incident shook the entire world and defamed the spirit of the game and even defeated the cause of good faith. The times when news traveled fast this was surely one of darkest days in Cricket.
- Australia went to play South Africa in 2018 to play 4 test matches. The first test match was won by visitors but a small fight between David Warner and Quinton de Kock was the highlight of the match. Cricket South Africa fought the next match and won the game by six wickets. However, this match was also controversial as Kagiso Rabada, the South African pacer was handed two match ban for his on-field bad behavior. Everybody knew something big was coming in the next match because the test match series was already spiced up.
- The third test match was played at Newlands in Cape Town. Chaos struck on the third day when post lunch, footage of Cameron Bancroft was found as he was rubbing the ball with a small yellow object (Sandpaper) started telecasting on the big screen. When Bancroft realized that his misconduct was being watched he tried to hide the object in his trousers which was yet again shown on the big screen. Nobody really knew what he was thinking because the production and broadcasting of a cricket match specifically requires the use of more than 30 cameras. That’s more than the number of players in the field including umpires as well.
- The umpires took the action right away and found the unidentified object from Bancroft. If you do not know what happened with BANcroft after this game? Then we will tell you that he was BANNED from playing cricket for nine months. Aha irony once again.
- However, on investigation Cricket Australia found that Steven Smith and David Warner then Captain and Vice-Captain of the team planned it from the start. Warner and Smith were banned for a period of 12 months and were not to be considered for leadership roles as they were also sacked from their roles. The incident was infamously called the sandpaper incident, and is so far, the biggest scandal in cricketing history.
To be honest, Cricket has seen many black days apart from these but these were some of the most controversial moments in cricket over the years. We hope we will get time to tell you more about such scandals in cricket but we also hope that we fans never have to witness such dark games again. Because in the end, we all love this beautiful game called Cricket.