The recent war of words between Ravi Shastri and Sourav Ganguly has added to the lengthy list of controversies in Indian cricket. Both former captains have taken the bait and this has only resulted in making things awkward between two gentlemen, both of whom have contributed immensely to Indian cricket. In fact the matter has still not been put to bed with Ganguly’s revelation that Shastri was offered the position of batting coach under Anil Kumble.
Needless to say, this controversy has shown both former captains in poor light. Here we look back at some other instances when the happenings on the field were overshadowed by those off the field. Here are the top 5 controversies in Indian cricket.
1) 2000 Match Fixing scandal
The South African team toured India in the 1999-00 season. While they won the 2 match test series comfortably, India bounced back to claim the 5 match ODI series 3-2 under newly appointed captain Ganguly. Or so we thought.
On 7 April, 2000 Delhi police revealed they had a recording of an incriminating conversation between Proteas captain Hansie Cronje and businessman/bookie Sanjay Chawla. The 2 were recorded discussing players and scores for an upcoming match. Other players mentioned in the conversation were Cronje’s team mates: Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje and Pieter Strydom.
After several back and forth and denials, it was finally revealed that Hansie Cronje had been involved with bookies: Mukesh Gupta and Marlon Aronstam on various occasions. More importantly, he revealed that he had been introduced to Gupta by former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin.
Also implicated were India internationals: Ajay Jadeja, Ajay Sharma and Nayan Mongia. After subsequent investigations Cronje and Azharuddin were found guilty and banned from playing or coaching cricket for life as was Ajay Sharma, while Jadeja received a five year ban.
The drama did not end there as former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar alleged that he had been offered money to under perform in 1994 by then captain Kapil Dev. Incidentally, Kapil was the coach of the Indian team at the time. This led to Kapil breaking down in an interview on BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ and resigning his position.
There was ‘no credible evidence’ found against Kapil, while Ironically Prabhakar was served with a ban for fixing. Cronje tragically lost his life in a plane crash in 2002, while Azharuddin’s ban was revoked by a High Court in 2012. The incident irreparably tarnished the image of Indian cricket while leaving fans to wonder if all they had been served were lies.