Sting operations seem to have become a rather inseparable aspect of cricket. As the game reels under the latest sting op, which allegedly caught umpires who are willing to give wrong decisions in return for money, we look back at earlier stings that have hit the game, and their impact.
The Prabhakar sting
In 2000, a website conducted an undercover operation with the help of former cricketer Manoj Prabhakar, who claimed that Kapil Dev had offered him a whopping Rs. 25 lakh to throw a match in 1994. As part of the sting, the former all-rounder conducted interviews with a number of former Indian cricketers, which included Bishen Singh Bedi, Ajit Wadekar, Kiran More, Navjot Sidhu and even Ravi Shastri.
While the sting sent shockwaves throughout the cricketing fraternity, Kapil Dev’s name was cleared following an enquiry, and it was Prabhakar himself who ended up getting banned for match-fixing related activities.
In April 2000, Delhi Police claimed that they had recorded a conversation between then South Africa captain Hansie Cronje and a member of the Indian betting syndicate. In the tapes, Cronje is heard clearly willing to fix matches, and discussing scenarios with the person on the other line – like Derek Crookes opening the bowling and Herschelle Gibbs not scoring that 20 runs in the game. While initially Cronje denied any wrongdoing and rubbished all allegations, it did not take him long to admit all that he had done wrong.
Cronje was banned for life, and his partners in crime, Herschelle Gibbs and Henry Williams, got bans of six-months each. During the inquiry, Cronje claimed that he was introduced to bookmakers by former India skipper Mohammad Azharuddin. Following investigations, life bans was placed on Azhar and another former India cricketer Ajay Sharma. Ajay Jadeja and Prabhakar were also handed five-year bans for having associations with bookmakers. The repercussions of the fixing scandal were felt across the border in Pakistan as well, with Saleem Malik and Ata-ur- Rehman being banned for life over their involvement in fixing-related activities.
Pak players in tight spot
In August 2010, a London-based magazine, which closed down recently, caught on tape a man named Mazhar Majeed, who revealed that Pakistani bowlers would no-balls at specific points during the Lord’s Test. The bowlers in the dock were Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, with skipper Salman Butt also said to be involved.
A case was brought against the three accused Pakistani players in a London court, and all of them were found guilty of wrongdoing. While disgraced skipper Butt was handed a 30-month jail sentence, Asif was given a jail term of one year, and Amir, sentenced to six months imprisonment.
IPL also not spared
The same news channel which conducted the sting on umpires had earlier put IPL cricketers under the microphone. Little-known players were caught allegedly agreeing to spot-fixing related and other corrupt activities.
Following an inquiry, BCCI stepped into damage control mode and banned the five players, namely TP Sudhindra (for life), Shalabh Srivastava (five years), Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali (for a year).
--By A Cricket Analyst